- Prof. Edit Yerushalmi
- Dr. Zehorit Kapach
- Dr. Zvika Aricha
- Dr. Rami Arieli
- Dr. Dorothy Langley
- Dr. Eran Kaplan
- Zev Krakover
- Michal Sigron
- Nancy Shalev
- David Shmuel Perl Nussbaum
- Haim Edri
- Ariel Abrashkin
- Moti Bitton
Secretariat and Administration:Rina Kimchi
The physics group in the Weizmann Institute’s Department of Science Teaching has been granted the support of the Physics teaching national committee to operate a two-year program (240 hours) aimed at training teachers as research facilitators, and to develop a learning sequence for the following programs:
- “Project in Research Physics” - an additional elective class for physics students, taken during 10th-12th grade in addition to the regular physics track.
- “Physics: An exploratory approach”- an elective framework that replaces 45% of the standard high school physics curriculum.
The purpose of these frameworks is to provide students with research and modeling practices of unfamiliar phenomena, while self-managing the learning and inquiry process.
The “Physics: An exploratory approach” program is designed for teachers who wish to further develop the inquiry practices of their students. It consists of a portfolio of inquiry activities, ranging from shorter activities (lasting 2-4 lessons) that support the acquisition of specific practices, to a more extensive mini-project (lasting 20-30 hours). The “Project in Research physics” program includes an introductory phase with activities from the exploratory approach program, followed by a long-term research project. The project lasts a year and a half, and requires independent learning of subjects beyond the scope of the curriculum. In both frameworks, students work in teams, and are guided by teachers qualified as research facilitators. This innovative framework creates pedagogical challenges in both curriculum design and the Professional Development of teachers.
Curriculum design: Between 2016-2020, the department collaborated with the Davidson Institute in managing three cycles of a three-year research physics regional class. The extended time frame enabled us to construct a learning progression in inquiry: from the introductory stage, imparting the foundations of scientific investigation to the novice student, to handling a long-term project. Booklets were developed for the research supervisors (one for the 10th grade supervisor, and one for the evaluation of student products), as well as booklets for expanding computational knowledge for research supervisors (“Computational Research Activities in the Physics Lab – From a two-particle system to a multi-particle system”):
This resulted in two research papers and reports:
- David Perl’s MA thesis, supervised by Edit Yerushalmi, examined students' perceptions of the contribution of the introductory stage (10th grade) to the project stage (11th-12th grades).
- Michal Sigron’s doctoral dissertation examined the development in students’ perceptions and research practices during their 3 years in the program.
Professional Development: The regional class served as an “Internship class” for the Professional Development of teachers working as project instructors. Each teacher guided a pair of students from the regional class, engaging with the dilemmas arising from both the project and the process of accompanying the students during Professional Development sessions. Booklets were developed for leaders of Professional Development (for introductory as well as advanced stages), as well as characterization reports (for the introductory and advanced stages of the Professional Development training).
An additional study by Dr. Dorothy Langley and Prof. Edit Yerushalmi dealt with the characterization of perceptions and practices of teachers participating in the Professional Development program.
Materials for the inquiry instructor – providing inquiry foundations:
- Booklet for the inquiry instructor – 10th grade activities 2018.
- Booklet for the inquiry instructor – collaborative evaluation of student products in research physics 2019.
Materials for the inquiry instructor – “Research Physics”:
- Booklet for the inquiry instructor – computational modeling activities in the physics laboratory 2015.
- Booklet for the inquiry instructor – expanding knowledge in computational modeling 2019.
Materials for the leader of Professional Development programs for inquiry instructors:
- Booklet for the leader of training of inquiry instructors – introductory training 2016.
- Booklet for the leader of training of inquiry instructors – advanced training 2017.
Characterization reports for the Professional Development training program:
- Characterization report for the Introductory training Professional Development program for inquiry instructors 2016.
- Characterization report – issues and dilemmas in Professional Development training for inquiry long term project instructors 2017.
Research Papers and Reports:
- Smadar Levy, Dorothy Langley and Edit Yerushalmi – Integrating Experimental Research Practices: Teachers’ Professional Development in Significantly Different Educational Settings, to be published in “Research & Development in Science Education: What Have We Learned?” Sense Publishers, Rotterdam Netherlands.
- PhD thesis, Michal Sigron – Abstract 2021.
- MSc thesis, David Perl – Abstract 2019.