A New Model Course in Applied Quantum Physics
E.F. Redish, R.N. Steinberg, M.C. Wittmann

Home | Overview | How Students Learn | Classroom materials | Teacher's Guide

Understanding How Students Learn

A New Model Course in Applied Quantum Physics is based on research on how students learn physics. Our model for the development of instructional materials consists of an iterative three-step process:

  • research
  • curriculum development
  • instruction.

The figure at right represents this process. The axle of the wheel represents the model of how students think and learn.

For more information, click on the links below.

Two different overviews of physics education research

Teaching physics: Figuring out what works
E.F. Redish and R.N. Steinberg, Physics Today , Vol. 52, 24-30 (January 1999).

Building a science of teaching physics
E.F. Redish, Am. J. Physics, Vol. 67, 562-573 (July, 1999).

Research-based curriculum design in quantum mechanics 

Research-based instructional software in modern physics
R.N. Steinberg and G.E. Oberem, J. Comp. Math Sci. Teach.
A description of the implementation and evaluation of a instructional software in modern physics focusing on the photoelectric effect. 

Investigations into student understanding of quantum mechanics

An overview article on the interplay between learning classical physics and quantum physics:

This paper was presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, March, 1999. For more papers from this meeting about the teaching of quantum mechanics, see the full set of papers found here.

Photoelectric effect

Probability and potential energy diagrams

Interpretation of the wavefunction


Quantum tunneling

Student understanding of conductivity

Student understanding of pre-requisites to quantum mechanics

Mechanical waves and wave phenomena

Student understanding of physical optics

Other resources

Workshop materials:

  • AAPT national meeting in Boise ID, Summer 2002.
    M.C. Wittmann, R.N. Steinberg, S. Rosenberg
    Regular workshops have been held at local and national AAPT meetings. The presentation gives the slides which were used during the presentation in which instructional materials on tunneling and conductivity were discussed.

Additional online links

University of Maryland Physics Education Research Group (WWW)
This page links to resources in physics education research that go beyond the teaching of quantum physics. We provide details of additional research projects, together with resources for instructors and links to other research groups throughout the world.

University of Maine Physics Education Research Laboratory (WWW)
The UMaine PERL focuses on how students learn physics, models of human reasoning, teacher training and development, and curriculum development and dissemination.




Last modified 2002 Oct 15