Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Robert Ricketts

Second Advisor

Jeremy Szteiter


It is important that students encounter and learn how to respond to failure in their high school experience. In traditional education systems, failure (for students and teachers) is often penalized in a way that stigmatizes failure and disincentivizes intellectual risk-taking. In my experience, as a high school physics teacher, I have witnessed firsthand the impact of the stigmatization of failure in the science classroom. Educators in the science classroom can use projects, lessons, and reimagined grading systems to cultivate a different mindset around failure for their students. As a conceptual physics teacher, I believe that my classroom should be a classroom that promotes project-based learning with real-world relevance that stresses authentic learning through intellectual risk-taking, the resulting failures, reflection on the experience and revised understanding. Based on my research, I will launch new projects in my classroom this spring that promote a culture of positive, generative failure in my classes. Key materials developed and piloted in pursuit of this work include new project-based challenges for physics class, post-lab reflections, and a transparent analysis of the current grading system paired with recommendations for different grading approaches that promote a generative view of failure rather than stigmatizing failure in the classroom.