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Progress Report of Sustainable Physics Education Reform

March 8, 2018.


               Sustainable Physics Education Reform program has been started on October 1, 2016 and continued until September 30, 2019.  The main goal is to conduct physics education research so that there is a reform in physics teaching and learning in Thailand. The program focuses on conducting basic research studies on physics understanding of students in pre-college up to undergraduate levels. Research findings are used to develop instructional materials for active learning approach in physics suitable for Thai students. Moreover, the program publishes research studies and trains more physics education researchers. Over the past two years, the progresses of this program are as follows.


1) Basic Physics Education Research Project

               Researchers in this project has collected and organized common physics misconceptions found among Thai students. We are in progress of editing this physics misconception book so it can be distributed to physics teachers and educators. In addition, our researchers have been investigating students’ misconceptions in vibrations in mechanic system and electric circuits, basic quantum mechanics and vectors. Moreover, we developed a survey of student understanding in measurement and uncertainty. This survey was used to assess physics undergrads and found that most students had difficulties in interpreting graphs and regression equations. This also includes dealing with outliner data. This project also emphasizes on investigation of attitudes and expectation in learning physics among physics teachers and students in IPST and POSN enrichment science classrooms. As a result, most students had difficulties in physics problem solving and most physics teachers commented that insufficient math skills were the cause. These research findings were published in journals [1-4]. We are also in a progress of developing a website for distributing our physics education resources in Thailand.



Figure 1.1 Students did a survey on RLC circuits.




Figure 1.2 Sample question in a survey of understanding in simple harmonic motions.



2) Development of Physics Instruction Media Project

               In the past two years, researchers in the project have created instruction materials for teaching physics lectures and laboratory, including instructional materials in vectors, fluids, inquiry physics laboratory, laboratory data collection and control system (LabKit), as well as the computer-assisted instructional media. In addition, during the implementation of the project, other outcomes were also achieved, such as the basic understanding and misconceptions of Thai students in topics of physics. The prototype of instructional materials were used to teach and to distribute in workshops for physics teachers, including the training of 10 high school physics teachers about the vector and the elements of the vector. These teachers then went back to their schools and taught this topic using active learning approach. For the Inquiry Lab, there was a process in developing the materials through teaching in a real classroom and in teacher workshop. The Inquiry Lab were used to teach more than 100 physics undergrads and science pre-service teachers, as well as, to teach 20 secondary school teachers at a workshop in School for Gifted and Ethnic Students, National University, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). Feedbacks from the implementation phase were used to improve the instructional materials.





Figure 2.1 Instructional materials on topics of vector and vector components.




Figure 2.2 Implementation of instructional materials on vector in teacher workshop.




Figure 2.3 Follow-up visits of attendee teachers in using active learning approach to teach vectors and vector components.




Figure 2.4 Implementation of Inquiry Lab on “Determination of specific heat capacity of coin” in teacher workshop at School for Gifted and Ethnic Students, National University, Lao PDR on 22 December 2017.




Figure 2.5 Implementation of Inquiry Lab in teaching 80 third year science students at Faculty of Education of Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University.




3) Capacity Enhancement for Physics Teachers Project

                During the first phase of the project, we conducted a need analysis of physics teachers about teacher workshop and received their needs regarding processes and physics contents. The workshop in this project emphasized active learning approach so that teachers learned materials hands-on in all 8 workshops. There were more than 300 teachers attended these workshops and we have organized profession learning community of attendee teachers. Moreover, selected teachers from 8 schools were followed up to track workshop implementation in their own classroom. The workshop and supervision equipped teachers to implement active learning in their own classroom. This approach helps developing students to construct their own knowledge and to embrace their creativity. This is an important step in building innovator society according to Thailand 4.0 policy. The obstacle in this project was that the workshops were used active learning approach so numbers of attended teachers were limited in order to obtain a satisfied outcome.



Figure 3.1 Teacher workshops for using STEM education approach in teaching.




Figure 3.2 Follow-up visits of attendee teachers in using active learning approach to teach primary students about simple electric circuits.




Figure 3.3 Teacher workshop in Lao PDR on 23 December 2017.



             For the last phase of these three projects, outputs in terms of research studies and instructional materials, as well as, case studies from teacher workshops will be organized and distributes on Thai physics education research website, created by the first project. This website will be a resource about teaching and learning physics for teachers and educators interested in physics education to be able to find related and useful information.



[1] C. Kamcharean and P. Wattanakasiwich, “Revisiting the fog bottle experiment”, European Journal of Physics37 (6) (2016) 065105-13.

[2] U. Wutchana and N. Emarat, “A worksheet to enhance students’ conceptual understanding in vector components”, J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 901 (2017) 012127.

[3] S. Somroob and P. Wattanakasiwich, “Investigating student understanding of simple harmonic motion”, J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 901 (2017) 012123.

[4] S. Jirungnimitsakul and P. Wattanakasiwich, “Assessing student understanding of measurement and uncertainty”, J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 901 (2017) 012121.


Reported by

Asst. Prof. Dr. Pornrat Wattanakasiwich1), Asst. Prof. Dr. Narumon Emarat2) and Asst. Prof. Dr. Kwan Arayathanitkul2)

1)Physics Education Research Laboratory, Department of Physics and Materials Science, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University, E-mail:

2)Physics Education Research Laboratory, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, E-mail: and