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The Physics Education Research Laboratory


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Instructional Materials

The UMaine PERL has created a variety of materials for teaching using research-based instructional tools. The sections below give brief summaries and links to further information.

More links can be found here.

Activity-Based Tutorials

The Activity-Based Tutorials are commercially available “tutorial” instruction materials designed for algebra- and calculus-based physics classes. They come in two parts:

Additional information can be found at:

Intermediate Mechanics Tutorials

Intermediate Mechanics Tutorials are modeled after the University of Washington Tutorials in Introductory Physics (L.C. McDermott, P.S. Shaffer, and the Physics Education Group at the U. of Washington (Prentice Hall, 2002)) and the Activity-Based Tutorials (M.C. Wittmann, R.N. Steinberg, E.F. Redish, and the University of Maryland Physics Education Research Group (Wiley, 2004 and 2005)). They are designed to help students in intermediate mechanics develop conceptual understanding of the physics, learn to use mathematical reasoning as a shorthand for conceptual reasoning, and build a coherent understanding of intermediate mechanics. More information here:

Intuitive Quantum Physics

A set of materials developed to help non-science majors develop insight into waves, probability, and energy as a way of understanding basic yet far-reaching concepts in quantum physics. In a one semester, “general education” course, students can develop ideas about spectroscopy, models of molecules, and quantum tunneling as applied to scanning tunneling microscopy and radiation. More information here:

Modeling laboratories

Modeling laboratories have been created for high school and introductory physics classes at the university level. These materials are based on the modeling method of instruction, created by David Hestenes at Arizona State University.

Tutorials in algebra-based introductory physics classes

University of Washington style tutorials have been created for university level instruction in algebra-based classes. These materials are based on the Tutorials in Introductory Physics, published by Prentice Hall and written by Lillian McDermott, Peter Shaffer, and the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington.


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PERL Blog


Contact Information

The Physics Education Research Laboratory
Phone: (207) 581-1237 and (207) 581-1030E-mail: wittmann@umit.maine.edu and john.thompson@umit.maine.edu
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1865