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master degree course in PHYSICS – FISICA

Course year 1
Teaching units Unit Physics education: Theoretical and experimental methods
Related or Additional Studies (lesson)
  • TAF: Supplementary compulsory subjects SSD: FIS/08 CFU: 6
Teachers: Tommaso ROSI
Exam type oral
Evaluation final vote
Teaching language English
Contents download pdf download


Tommaso ROSI


The course aims to introduce students to the world of Physics Education Research, focusing in particular on the educational aspects that relate to the world of teaching and always referring to the world of academic research in this field.

This course aims to provide an introduction to the methodological aspects regarding teaching, such as the conduct of a lesson and the design of didactic sequences. The aim is to provide an introduction to the fundamental concepts of Physics Education Research and to the main techniques of didactic design of theoretical and experimental activities for the teaching of physics.

Various experimental activities will be presented from a didactic point of view and some case studies will be considered adopting both traditional laboratory instrumentation and new technologies applied to the didactic laboratory of physics.
The practical activities will be carried out directly by the students divided into working groups.

Admission requirements

Basic knowledge of mechanics, thermodynamics and electromagnetism, such as are provided by the courses of the Bachelor's degree in Physics and Mathematics.

Course contents

This course aims to introduce students to the use of innovative teaching tools.

During the course students are going to use new experimental techniques, such as video analysis, support tools such as simulation environments and online applets.
The results of the experimental activities will be used to discuss experiences from a didactic point of view and to introduce some basic concepts and methods of research in Physics Education.

Some experiences will be carried out and discussed illustrating tools and methods derived from research in Physics Education (design of teaching/learning sequences, use of "Research based assesements instruments", design and analysis of tests).

Teaching methods

The course is articulated on 36 hours. Lessons will take place in a laboratory. Students will work in small groups and can use their own computer to analyze and present the data obtained. Attendance is strongly recommended. An effective learning of the theoretical part requires the study of the suggested texts and of the didactic material provided by the teacher (shared with the students through the digital platform). The most suitable strategy for an effective learning of the methodologies and contents of the experimental part is to participate actively and regularly in the laboratory activities.

Assessment methods

The exam consists of two parts: (A) A written report (including a discussion about methodologies and the use of information and communication tecnologies) about a subject chosen by the student. (B) An oral exam in which the student will expose the content of the report, and subsequently there will be questions and discussions on further topics addressed during the course.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will be able to
1) independently design experience and educational sequences
2) use video analysis software
3) build simulations using appropriate software


* Ugo Besson, "Didattica della fisica" Carocci ed. 2015

* Arnold B. Arons: "Guida all'insegnamento della fisica", Zanichelli

* Indicazioni Nazionali riguardanti gli Obiettivi specifici di apprendimento per il Liceo Scientifico

* Resource Letter RBAI-1: Research-based Assessment Instruments in Physics and Astronomy Adrian Madsen, Sam McKagan (2016)

* Student understanding of rotational and rolling motion concepts Lorenzo G. Rimoldini and Chandralekha Singh PHYS. REV. ST PHYS. EDUC. RES. 1, 010102 .2005.

* Multiple-choice test of energy and momentum concepts
American Journal of Physics 71, 607 (2003);
Chandralekha Singh and David Rosengrant

* D. Hestenes, M. Wells, and G. Swackhamer, “Force concept inventory,” Phys. Teach. 30, 141–151 (1992);

* R. K. Thornton and D. R. Sokoloff, “Assessing student learning of Newton’s laws: The force and motion conceptual evaluation and the evaluation of active learning laboratory and lecture curricula,” Am. J. Phys. 66, 338–352 (1998)

* Learning motion concepts using real‐time microcomputer‐based laboratory tools
Ronald K. Thornton and David R. Sokoloff
Citation: American Journal of Physics 58, 858 (1990)