No Access Submitted: 15 October 1990 Accepted: 29 August 1991 Published Online: 04 June 1998
American Journal of Physics 60, 637 (1992);
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  • Patricia Heller
  • Mark Hollabaugh
A supportive environment based on cooperative grouping was developed to foster students’ learning of an effective problem‐solving strategy. Experiments to adapt the technique of cooperative grouping to physics problem solving were carried out in two diverse settings: a large introductory course at state university, and a small modern physics class at a community college. Groups were more likely to use an effective problem‐solving strategy when given context‐rich problems to solve than when given standard textbook problems. Well‐functioning cooperative groups were found to result from specific structural and management procedures governing group members’ interactions. Group size, the gender and ability composition of groups, seating arrangement, role assignment, textbook use, and group as well as individual testing were all found to contribute to the problem‐solving performance of cooperative groups.
  1. © 1992 American Association of Physics Teachers.