Freek Pols published an article: 'Would you dare to jump?'
Fostering a scientific approach to secondary physics inquiry
It seems reasonable that before students putting much effort in learning difficult things they need to see the reason why that knowledge is of value. In this study we try to create such an awareness pertaining to the value of scientific ‘rules’ in physics inquiry. Without much instruction, students (14-15y) investigate in the context of a new pirate movie the influence of a potential factor on the swing time, information crucial in designing a spectacular but safe stunt.
Once students conducted the inquiry, they are asked whether they would dare to jump if the stunt was based on the information they produced. This confrontation prompts students to judge the quality of their inquiry as insufficient. They state that their inquiry could and should have been conducted better. Their acquired willingness to develop the understandings to conduct proper research – using the idea from producers of knowledge to consumers of knowledge – is exploited in the subsequent activities in which students’ develop these understandings.