Intersection of introductory physics with society

Submitted by James Rall on

The general public has numerous misconceptions about science. My PHY101 students explored this intersection of science with society by researching a topic, performing a survey, and creating an educational website. The students chose a topic from a list to research. After researching the student came up with a question to test the misconception and three follow up questions to challenge it. The students presented their results in a non-traditional format, an informative website. This educational website was evaluated based on the attached assessment sheet.

This was the first semester assigning this project. The students seemed interested in the project due to the creation of the website. There were also many students who expressed surprise by the study. For example, a student showed disbelief that the majority of people surveyed thought the sky was blue due to the reflection of the oceans. The major concerns which need to be addressed in the future are the emphasis on the basic science, more oversight of the survey questions and class time for feedback on the site development. I have included the list of webpages for my PHY101 students.

Completed Full Cycle
Course Number
Average: 5 (1 vote)


Peter Turner Tue, 04/15/2014 - 12:21pm

Very interesting, James! Some of the things I liked were student choice of topic (very brain-friendly), the assessment page layed out like clear rubrics, research-embedded, emphasis on grammar/punctuation (by virtue of score reductions!), and a real-life/experiential connection. One question: do your students have to cite their sources, either MLA or APA?

James Rall Wed, 04/16/2014 - 9:08am


Thank you for the wonderful comments. I was impressed by the quality work most of the students produced. The main "in text" citation I was hoping for this time around was concerning the photos, which a few students achieved. I did have them show their sources in the related links tab. I will admit that citation in the technology era is a bit of a grey matter for me, especially in the area of blogs and educational forums. I am planning on talking to more of the library and writing center staff to identify the proper way to cite in a non-formal media such as an educational website for the general public.