OAPT Ontario Association of Physics Teachers

Concept Questions for Peer Instruction

Peer Instruction is one of the easiest and most effective teaching techniques to come out of Physics Education Research. It is a great way to implement assessment for learning, as learning and of learning. It is similar to having the class 'vote' for an answer, but much more powerful.

   ◊ Instead of holding up your hand where everybody can see everyone else's answers, you have them show you a letter that corresponds to your answer. Instead of choosing from one answer or an alternative, you can have them selecting from four or five answers.

   ◊ Instead of having one or two students explain their ideas to the whole class, you get everyone taking turns explaining and listening in groups of two or three. This is where the learning happens.

The only tools you need are a set of large letters for each student and a set of concept questions. These should not be simple factual recall or problems that are primarily about calculations. About one-third of the grade 11 Physics Contest questions are good examples.


Many of these contest questions for Kinematics, Forces and Energy can also be used for units B, C and D of grade 12U physics. Banks of concept questions for the other units in grade 12 are provided below.

Electric and Gravitational Fields: Unit D Word PDF
Electric and Magnetic Fields: Unit D Word PDF
Wave Nature of Light: Unit E Word PDF
Relativity: Unit F Word PDF
Quantum Physics: Unit F Word PDF

For more detail on how to implement this technique you should check out Eric Mazur's group at
or read his book Peer Instruction.

Project Manager: Roberta Tevlin
Contributing Authors: Sara Naudts, Rodica Ellison, Tom Eagan, Thao-Nguyen Ngyuen