Forefronts Of Research Educational Modules
Project FOREM is an NSF-funded outreach program that aims to engage the natural curiosity of high school students and inspire their imagination. To this end, FOREM's goal is to make available to students subjects of current research interest at the forefront of our knowledge. We have set out on a course to achieve this goal by developing short educational modules that bring the forefronts of research to high school physics in a way that emphasizes the actual practices of science and inquiry.
The modules will utilize guided inquiry activities, integrated with labs and new technologies. Each module starts with a carefully chosen set of questions and problems ("challenges") and follows an interactive exchange to allow the relevant knowledge to be constructed by students. In this process, students learn not only how to answer fact-based questions but also how to approach a challenge and move toward a solution.
This process inevitably starts with the students' prior knowledge; that is, their preconceptions and misconceptions. It will attempt to improve these conceptions through observation, conjecture, criticism and communication and eventually build up the intended conceptual framwork. The teacher's role is to guide this process, shape the activities, and provide opportunities for formative assessment. The following diagram illustrates the process.