Tag Archives: laboratory class

Writing backwards

honey&mumfordschematicMy regular readers will know that I am a fan of the 5E instructional method and in particular combining it with Everyday Engineering Examples when teaching introductory engineering courses to undergraduate students. Elsewhere in this blog, there is a catalogue of lesson plans and examples originally published in a series of booklets produced during a couple of projects funded by the US National Science Foundation. Now, I have gone a step further and embedded this pedagogy in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Energy! Thermodynamics in Everyday Life. If you follow the MOOC, you’ll find some new worked examples that I explain while writing ‘backwards’ on a glass board. My film unit are very proud of the ‘backwards’ writing in these examples, which they tell me is an innovation in education filming-making. Our other major innovation is laboratory exercises that MOOC participants can perform in their kitchens. Two of these are based on everyday experiences for most participants: boiling water and waiting for a hot drink to cool down; the third is less everyday because it involves a plumber’s manometer. In each case, I am attempting to move people around Honey and Mumford’s learning cycle, which is illustrated schematically in the figure, i.e. having an experience, reviewing the experience, concluding from the experience and the planning the next steps. The intention is that students progress around the cycle in the taught component, then again in the experiments.

If you want to have a go at the one of experiments, then the instructions for the first one are available here. Alternatively you could sign up for the MOOC – its not too late!  But if you don’t want to follow the course then you can stil watch some excerpts on the University of Liverpool’s Stream website, including the backwards written examples.


Atkin, J.M. and Karplus, R., 1962. Discovery of invention? Science Instructor, 29 (5), 45–47.

Honey P, Mumford A. The Manual of Learning Styles 3rd Ed. Peter Honey Publications Limited, Maidenhead, 1992.