Context Rich Problems
|At the University of Minnesota
Department of Physics we have cooperative group problem
solving in our discussion sections. In plain English,
this means we have groups of students working together to
solve a problem. These groups are more than just students
sitting together, but are structured learning groups, but
this is the subject of another WWW page.
several years of evaluating these learning groups we have
seen that in order for the groups to function properly,
the problems need several characteristics:
In short, traditional end-of-chapter textbook problems are inadequate.
To satisfy these constraints, we have created what we call context rich problems. Context rich problems have the characteristics listed above and more. They are strikingly different from traditional problems. Our use of context rich problems has expanded from our recitations into exams and our laboratories. Creating context-rich problems is not an obvious task, so we have guidelines to help people create context rich problems. Once a problem is created it is important to judge the problem for difficulty. It is easy to make context rich problems too difficult.
These WWW pages are designed to introduce you to context rich problems. You can also visit our on-line archive of context rich problems where you can find context rich problems for many topics in introductory physics. Feel free to modify these problems to suit your needs and use them in your classes.