Problem solving in physics : The impact of group study in developing problem solving skills
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First-year, high school physics students struggle with problem solving in physics. They tend to show characteristics of novice problem solvers, such as fixating on finding an answer or neglecting to understand the principles behind the problem. Most of the in-class problem solving exercises are traditionally teacher-led. Students are expected to pay attention in class and work on developing their own skills as they work on homework. To address these difficulties, the treatment section engaged in group problem solving sessions in lieu of the teacher-led sessions. They were given a protocol to follow to work together at developing skills of expert problem solvers. During the treatment period, students in the treatment section showed small improvements on problem solving assessments when compared to their comparison counterparts. While there were small gains made, it might be best to employ multiple in-class problem solving methods throughout the year to foster the greatest development in problem solving skills for first-year physics students.