A Critical Thinking Unit on Electricity and Magetism to Encourage Females and Minorities

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

John R. Murray


This thesis examines possible reasons for female and minority student avoidance of high school physics, and then discusses an electricity and magnetism curriculum designed to help all students, but especially girls and minorities, succeed in such subjects. The sixteen lessons in the curriculum encourage all students by providing hands-on experiences and guidance which leads the students to develop their critical and creative thinking and problem solving skills as they draw conclusions about their investigations and then apply their conclusions to new situations and problems. Some factors which discourage female and minority students from taking courses in mathematics and science are low self-confidence, negative social conditioning and low expectations, negative views of math and science, and poorly designed instructional materials and pedagogy. These factors my discourage those students who do enroll in such courses from applying themselves and may cause some to drop out. In order to teach students successfully, a conscious effort is made to structure the electricity and magnetism lessons so that the students have active and meaningful classroom experience which engage them in critical and creative thinking. The students are taught to reflect upon their thinking and to share thinking strategies and problem solving strategies with other students. The hands-on activities foster self-confidence and allow students to internalize the new knowledge. Because problem solving, discovering, and hypothesizing all demand that students admit ignorance and/or risk answers which may be incorrect, it is important to help them develop self-confidence so that they become willing to risk being wrong and to persevere through frustration. Therefore, the classroom environment is structured so that it will support and encourage all students and provide them with real world applications.


Contact cct@umb.edu for access to full text

This document is currently not available here.