Anchored in real-world phenomena, PEER Physics is an innovative, student-centered approach for teaching and learning physics in the high school. PEER Physics is designed to address the most current standards, involving core concepts, scientific practices, and crosscutting themes. Students learn to advocate for themselves in an inclusive learning environment where they develop, share, critique, argue, and revise evidence-based ideas.
PEER Physics includes six chapters, each situated within a real-world phenomena. PEER Physics is designed for flexibility in the chapter sequencing. Districts can choose from a variety of sequence map options to align with their priorities. All suggested sequence maps are based on physics education research and are designed to spiral essential physics concepts, crosscutting concepts, and scientific practices.
The PEER Physics learning cycle allows students to integrate past experiences with evidence so that they can generate and internalize scientific principles.
The Initial Ideas prompt students to think about their experiences and intuitions relevant to the activity. It is critical that the instructor helps establish norms and practices in order for students to feel safe to share their preconceptions so that their ideas are heard and valued.
Collecting and Interpreting Evidence
When Collecting and Interpreting Evidence, students make many concrete observations of phenomena. These observations come from shared laboratory experiences, which allow students to argue on the basis of shared evidence. Students use mathematical relationships, trends, data tables, graphs, etc. to interpret observations and data. In some chapters they also draw, describe, and revise models to make sense of their observations. Students are guided to identify and use evidence to make claims about scientific principles.
Summarizing Questions guide students in generating claims from their evidence. Groups come to consensus on their responses to the summarizing questions and then defend their claims to other groups.
Scientists’ Ideas Reading
The Scientists’ Ideas Reading presents formalisms for students only after they have developed the concepts themselves through evidence-based consensus building. These readings provide academic language, symbols, and mathematical formalisms consistent with what they will see in college.
3D Performance Assessments
These short performance assessments provide teachers with resources to gauge student proficiency on physics principles, crosscutting concepts, and scientific practices. Not only do these assessments provide teachers with a more comprehensive measurement of student understanding, but they also allow students to be assessed in ways that parallel the pedagogical approach in a PEER Physics classroom. Instructors may implement these as group or individual assessments, depending on the instructor’s assessment objectives. Each PEER Physics Three Dimensional Assessment also includes a grading rubric and review questions.
Engineering Design Challenges
PEER Physics Engineering Design Challenges are classroom or take-home projects in which students use physics principles to solve a real-world problem. These projects are carefully designed for students to apply their understanding of physics principles throughout each step of the the engineering design process: brainstorming, designing, testing, analyzing, and optimizing. Each PEER Physics Engineering Design Challenge also includes a storyline hook that instructors may use to introduce the associated chapter.
The PEER Physics Assessment Banks provide teachers with traditional content-based assessment questions that are designed to assess student understanding of the key ideas that are developed throughout each activity. Formative and summative assessment play an important role in the PEER Physics classroom for informing responsive instructional decisions and for providing students with detailed feedback. These assessment banks were designed in collaboration with PEER Physics instructors and they are based on educational research on the Assessment Pyramid, carefully incorporating three levels of thinking (reproduction, connections, and analysis) across physics domains (Shafer and Foster, 1997).
Universal Design of Learning
PEER Physics Student and Teacher’s Guides are available in two formats: as spiral-bound printed books and as eBooks on the VitalSource Bookshelf platform. Partnering schools and districts often utilize each of these formats for their PEER Physics courses, as they offer different types of supports for PEER Physics learning environments.
Interested in partnering?
Are you looking into a district-wide adoption and need samples of the PEER Physics curricular materials to inform your decision? Set up a meeting with Shelly to share about your adoption goals and discuss partnership pathways. We’re happy to provide sample curricular materials for partnerships that may be a good fit!
Learn more about partnership options and obtain sample materials by contacting Shelly Belleau: firstname.lastname@example.org.