Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

Physics by Inquiry

21st Century Pedagogies

Physics by Inquiry is a set of laboratory-based modules that provide a step-by-step introduction to physics and the physical sciences. Through in-depth study of simple physical systems and their interactions, students gain direct experience with the process of science. Starting from their own observations, students develop basic physical concepts, use and interpret different forms of scientific representations, and construct explanatory models with predictive capability.
Physics by Inquiry


  • Lillian C. McDermott
    Professor of Physics
    University of Washington

  • Paula R.L. Heron
    Associate Professor of Physics
    University of Washington

Essays, Stories & Reports:

Resources from other sources:

  • Physics by Inquiry
    "Physics by Inquiry has been designed for courses in which the primary emphasis is on discovering rather than on memorizing and in which teaching is by questioning rather than by telling. Such a course allows time for open-ended investigations, dialogues between the instructor and individual students, and small group discussions."

  • Physics Education Group
    "The Physics Education Group in the Physics Department at the University of Washington conducts a coordinated program of research, curriculum development, and instruction to improve student learning in physics."

  • Physics and Education Group Publications
    This site features "physics education group publications articles in refereed journals and professional publications."