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Peer Instruction: A User's Manual Paperback – August 8, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0135654415 ISBN-10: 0135654416 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 253 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley; 1 edition (August 8, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0135654416
  • ISBN-13: 978-0135654415
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #397,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Peer Instruction is an interactive teaching style that actively involves students in the learning process by focusing attention on underlying concepts through interactive "ConcepTests", reading quizzes, and conceptual exam questions. Results, asse ssed through scores on the Force Concept Inventory and final exams, show that students better understand concepts and perform better on conventional problems in this environment. It can be easily adapted to fit individual lecture styles and used with any textboo k. Eric Mazur's Peer Instruction approach has been successfully field-tested in a variety of settings, most of them quite different from his home campus at Harvard University (e.g., University of Massachusetts--Lowel and Appalachian State Universi ty).

From the Back Cover

Presents an entirely new approach to introductory physics within a calculus-based conceptual and a mathematical framework. It offers an approach to presenting the material that is more gradual than existing books on the subject. Peer Instruction: A User's Manual develops the full conceptual framework of each chapter within the first section of that chapter while addressing questions common to that topic. The material in this section concentrates on the underlying ideas and paints the big picture, whenever possible without equations. The second part of each chapter then develops the rigorous mathematical framework linked to the material presented in the first part. Each chapter also includes a short set of qualitative, conceptual questions at the end of the first section designed to strengthen the focus on the conceptual framework and facilitate understanding of the mathematical framework. The book is written in a lively, engaging style that anticipates the questions readers will have, articulates them, and answers them in a direct dialogue with the reader. MARKETS: A valuable reference book for anyone desiring an understanding of physics as it relates to engineering and science.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amazondotcodotuk on August 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you have a class of 30,40,50 or more, and/or you have problems in terms of participation of your students in lessons, or if you would like to create useful discussions in your class by which your students can develop their conceptual understanding of physics; this book will serve as a great source. There are lots of materials that can be used in the class, along with standard tests such as FCI, MBT. Eric Mazur's Peer Instruction method is a research based well functioning teaching method. I have been using the materials in my highschool physics instructions, and seen the effectiveness of them. For example, well designed quizzes which I used to test reading assignments were very useful. Highly recommended for physics teachers.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By C. Doner on January 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
The book has 252 pages of which 42 contain content and the remainder is resources. As the accompanying CD also contains all the resources, I wondered why 200 pages of the book was used for this. I expected more for the price.
The peer instruction approach is certainly a valuable method, and it is worth seeing his particular model for lessons. The questions provided are very similar to those on IB exams--which combine a very good blend of conceptual questions, and problem solving with estimations and assumptions--as such I already had very good resources in this regard. Paul Hewitt's textbook and worksheets are at a similar level of difficulty and have much to offer in terms of forming a conceptual basis for physics understanding.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Crowell on September 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book described a teaching technique that was considered innovative in 1996, and it was highly influential.

It has some very sensible recommendations: Don't introduce material in lecture form, but make students read the book for that purpose (and use reading quizzes to enforce that). Test concepts and not just calculations.

It has a useful survey of the relevant pedagogical literature as of 1996, including data showing that following the book's recommendations improves conceptual understanding without hurting students' problem-solving abilities.

Most of the book consists of a collection of resources to be used in teaching using the technique it advocates.

None of this, however, is a valid reason to pay $35 for this book in the year 2012. The relevant pedagogical research from that era can basically be found in one paper:

Hake, "Interactive Engagement Versus Traditional Methods: a Six-Thousand Student Survey of Mechanics Test Data for Introductory Physics Courses, Am. J. of Phys, 66 (1997) 64

More recent pedagogical research along the same lines is all available online for free from authors such as Hake and Halloun.

The resources included in the book are not worth paying money for. You can get similar "conceptest" items at the Project Galileo web site. The standardized diagnostic tests described in the book are available for free in more convenient form if you contact the authors of the tests, and these tests have been updated and improved as a result of ongoing research since 1996. Furthermore, the resources in the book are full of errors, such as multiple-choice conceptest questions that are formatted such that there is no correct answer, and that therefore can't be used successfully for the teaching technique being advocated.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Chad Davies on June 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
Peer Instruction is a excellent source for a number of non-traditional assessment items designed to measure a student's understanding of fundamental physics concepts.

While the book contains electronic copies of the Force Concept Inventory and the Mechanics Baseline Test, it's real strength are the ConcepTests. These one question assessment items are designed to allow the student to determine their own understanding of the conceptual foundations of the material as well as giving the instructor a way to determine the overall class understanding of an idea so that a decision on whether to spend more time covering the concept should be spent.

Additionally, there are a number of reading quiz questions that can be used at the beginning of class or in an on-line environment to encourage students to come to class prepared.

Physics educators will find this an excellent resource, especially when combined with any of the new classroom "voting" systems desgned with this sort of approach in mind. Highly recommended for physics educators and students taking an introductory college level physics course.
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