We focus on the development, implementation and study of research-based reform for physics and physics education programs. Over several years, we have transformed the undergraduate physics experience at FIU. Along the way, a thriving research and learning community has been established, rooted in inquiry-based pedagogy and engaging high school teachers and students, undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and associated stakeholders. 

Our efforts are supported by a multodisciplinary team from the departments of Physics and Teaching and Learning. We receive federal funding from the National Science Foundation, American Institute of Physics, American Association of Physics Teachers and American Physical Society


  • Web Resources


    • PER Central: Like the name suggests, a central portal to PER resources
    • Compadre: Resources for Physics and Astronomy education, part of the National Science Digital Library. Host to PER central.
    • National Physicist Organizations
      • AAPT.org: The American Association of Physics Teachers
      • AIP.org: The American Institute of Physics
      • APS.org: The American Physical Society
    • ASU's Modeling Site: Modeling Instruction central
    • PhysTEC.org and PTEC.org: Physics Teacher Education Coalition sites aimed at improving the quantity and quality of physics teachers
    • PhET: Physics Education Technology at University of Colorado provides interactive science simulations for free.

    PER Group Homepages:

  • Readings and Scholarly Work
    • Arnold Arons’ Teaching Introductory Physics book includes foundational information on student difficulties in introductory physics and treatments on the difficulties including homework and test questions. Wiley, ISBN: 0-471-13707-3, (1997)
    • I.A. Halloun and D. Hestenes, “Common sense concepts about motion,” American Journal of Physics 53 (11), 1056-1065 (1985)
    • D. Hammer, “More than misconceptions: Multiple perspectives on student knowledge and reasoning, and an appropriate role for education research,” American Journal of Physics 64, 1316-1325 (1996)
    • D. Hestenes, "Toward a modeling theory of physics instruction", American Journal of Physics 55, 440-454 (1987).
    • D. Hestenes, "Who needs physics education research?" American Journal of Physics 66, 465-467 (1998).
    • R.D. Knight, Five Easy Lessons: Strategies for Successful Physics Teaching Pearson-Addison Wesley (2004)
    • McDermott and Redish’s resource letter on physics education research
    • L.C. McDermott, “Millikan Lecture 1990: What we teach and what is learned – Closing the gap,” American Journal of Physics 59 (4), 301-315 (1991).
    • Redish's Who needs to learn physics in the 21st century and why?
    • E.F. Redish, “Millikan Lecture 1998: Building a science of teaching physics,” American Journal of Physics 67 (7), 562-573 (1999).
    • E.F. Redish and R.N. Steinberg, “Teaching physics: Figuring out what works,” Physics Today 52 (1), 24-30 (1999).
    • E.F. Redish, Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite, Wiley (2003)
    • A. Van Heuvelen, “Learning to think like a physicist: A review of research-based instructional strategies,” American Journal of Physics 59 (10), 891-897 (1991)
  • Research-Based Curricula and Materials

    Modeling Instruction:

    Modeling Instruction operates as a collaborative, studio-format, learning environment. Inquiry labs and activities focused on conceptual reasoning and problem solving are the primary vehicles through which models are built, validated and extended. The use of Modeling Discourse Management has cultivated a learning community by encouraging students to engage with each other and establish patterns of scientific communication that students utilize in extra curricular interactions.


    Activity-based Physics:

    From their website:

    "Activity-Based Physics is a multi-university project to sustain and enhance current efforts to render introductory physics courses more effective and exciting at both the secondary and college level. This program represents a multi-university collaborative effort by a team of educational reformers to use the outcomes of physics education research along with flexible computer tools to promote activity-based models of physics instruction."



    Cooperative Group Problem Solving:

    Cooperative group problem solving has several advantages:

    1. The structured problem-solving strategy seems too long and complex to most students. Cooperative-group problem solving gives students a chance to practice the strategy until it becomes more natural.
    2. Groups can solve more complex problems than individuals, so students see the advantage of a logical problem-solving strategy early in the course.
    3. Each individual can practice the planning and monitoring skills they need to become good individual problem solvers.
    4. Students get practice developing and using the language of physics — "talking physics".
    5. In their discussion with each other, students must deal with and resolve their misconceptions.
    6. In subsequent, whole-class discussions of the problems, students are less intimidated because they are not answering as an individual, but as a group."



    Just-in-Time Teaching:

    From their website:

    "Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT for short) is a teaching and learning strategy based on the interaction between web-based study assignments and an active learner classroom. Students respond electronically to carefully constructed web-based assignments which are due shortly before class, and the instructor reads the student submissions "just-in-time" to adjust the classroom lesson to suit the students' needs. Thus, the heart of JiTT is the "feedback loop" formed by the students' outside-of-class preparation that fundamentally affects what happens during the subsequent in-class time together."




    From their website:

    "The primary goal of the Student-Centered Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs (SCALE-UP) Project is to establish a highly collaborative, hands-on, computer-rich, interactive learning environment for large-enrollment courses."

    "Educational research indicates that students should collaborate on interesting tasks and be deeply involved with the material they are studying. We promote active learning in a redesigned classroom of 100 students or more. (Of course, smaller classes can also benefit.) 



    Tutorials in Introductory Physics:

    From their website:

    "Tutorials in Introductory Physics is a set of instructional materials intended to supplement the lectures and textbook of a standard introductory physics course. The emphasis in the tutorials is not on solving the standard quantitative problems found in traditional textbooks, but on the development of important physical concepts and scientific reasoning skills."



    Workshop Physics:

    From their website:

    "Workshop Physics is one component of the Activity Based Physics Suite. It is a calculus-based introductory physics curriculum designed to completely replace traditional lectures and laboratories. In a typical two-hour Workshop Physics class session, students use equipment and computer tools for data acquisition, visualization, analysis, and mathematical modeling."


Contact Us

Department of Physics
11200 SW 8th Street, CP 204

Miami, FL 33199
Tel: 305-348-2605
Fax: 305-348-6700