“Is Ohm’s Law a lie?” Using provocative questions to promote critical thinking

I just read a terrific piece, Ohm’s Law Is a Lie, by Kundan Nepal and Greg Mowry in this month’s ASEE Prism. The piece was sponsored by KEEN Engineering Unleashed and describes the Question Formulation Technique (QFT), an inquiry approach developed by the Right Question Institute. The authors describe using the QFT with electrical engineering students as they presented the provocative statement, “Ohm’s Law is a lie” to the class. The students then generated in groups their own questions to drive their learning including: Why is Ohm’s Law commonly accepted if it is false? What is a law in science? What would make this one a lie, and how do we know whether or not it is? Students then refined and prioritized the questions in preparation for doing their own research and presentations on the topic. A final step was having students reflect on the process of scientific validation.

You’ll find more examples for provocative questioning that are sure to spark your own ideas, whatever you teach. If you’re looking for something new to try in your classes, give this a try!


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