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Problems Offer Solutions

In my recent commentary (The Scientist, May 25, 1992, page 12), I stressed the importance of having the textbook one chooses support one's teaching objectives, but I made no mention of how this should be done. Therefore, as a postscript to my essay, let me discuss the benefits a textbook can offer if its chapters are supplemented by (and teachers make use of) questions and problems, with answers. From my experience, these problems compel students to think about and learn to use the information

Wells Farnsworth

In my recent commentary (The Scientist, May 25, 1992, page 12), I stressed the importance of having the textbook one chooses support one's teaching objectives, but I made no mention of how this should be done. Therefore, as a postscript to my essay, let me discuss the benefits a textbook can offer if its chapters are supplemented by (and teachers make use of) questions and problems, with answers.

From my experience, these problems compel students to think about and learn to use the information and principles covered in the chapter. In this way the questions serve a tutorial role and catalyze intelligent understanding. They help the students see how processes work, how these are regulated, and the consequences of the activity.

It is important to recognize the levels of cognitive difficulties questions and problems offer. Through this information, one can identify what types of questions will best meet...

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