Develop Subject Specific Intuition

Each subject has specific though somewhat unstated guidelines. These are important in several situations. First, understanding these guidelines is an important check on potential answers. For example, understanding measurements is key for many scientific fields. A student should be aware that something is wrong in their calculation if their answer for the distance between two points on earth is greater than the distance between the earth and sun. Second, understanding the implication of certain words that carry subject specific meanings is critical for clear communication. For example, while in English class ‘force’ is a punchy verb, in Physics class, it carries a very specific definition.
Students who are unfamiliar with subject specific nuances often misinterpret questions and can feel discouraged by the subject. By providing students explicit instruction on subject specific content, an instructor can prevent some common pitfalls. Further, in order for students to evaluate new information, to perform more advanced thinking in their field, and to communicate their own findings clearly to others in the field they need to understand these subject specific intuitions.

Developing Subject Specific Intuitions can be worked into a variety of activity types! Here are just a few examples:


Statement Corrections: Statement corrections are a great way to have students confront common misconceptions. By selecting statements that challenge subject specific intuitions, an instructor can highlight key pitfalls. They can also open up a class discussion on these points so that all students have a better understanding moving forward.


Research: Developing a research project and a final research report relies heavily on understanding subject specific intuitions. By providing timely feedback, an instructor can teach a student these intuitions at all stages of the project.


There are also ways to focus on Developing Subject Specific Intuitions in unexpected activity types.


Role Play: Students can assume the role of a famous person in a given field. By developing a character and playfully assuming their identity, students must think through all aspects of these intuitions. The class/instructor can also correct a student’s error in the fun light-hearted environment.

Coming soon!