In this paper, my aim is to problematize the invisibility (to instructors) of the purposes of particular exercises within research-based instructional materials (RBIMs) and to provide one possible solution to this problem that other teacher educators may adapt for their institutional contexts. In particular, I show that many RBIMs anticipate and respond to particular (often incorrect) learner ideas, that teachers often do not recognize this, and that not recognizing this can cause teachers to miss opportunities to build on learner ideas and/or engage students in scientific practices. I share an instructional activity I designed that is meant to support teachers—including university physics Learning Assistants—in recognizing the purposes of particular questions or sequences of questions within RBIMs, and I illustrate that this activity can be a productive starting place for conversation about RBIMs.

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85.

Throughout this paper, I use the word curriculum consistent with the definition issued by Remillard,42 to mean “printed, often published resources designed for use by teachers and students during instruction”—e.g., the Tutorials themselves, in a Tutorials-supported university physics course.

86.

To be clear, this streamlining has advantages with respect to how long it takes novice instructors to develop this kind of knowledge. However, as I share in Robertson, Gray, Lovegren, Rininger, and Wenzinger (under review), taking the time to invent this knowledge had substantive advantages for the original cohort (e.g., authentic ownership of their curricular knowledge).

87.

Many such curricula—and all of the examples I use in this paper—anticipate and respond to student misunderstandings. However, some RBIMs in physics are explicit about their choices to build on students' productive resources (e.g., Maryland Open Source Tutorials77,78). Others, including the Tutorials, though perhaps not explicit, presume students will be able to iteratively build conceptual models (e.g., for extended light sources) using existing ideas, thus implicitly treating these existing ideas as productive resources. I draw on misunderstandings-oriented examples here for rhetorical simplicity—because the instructional activity I developed for LAs and the literature's treatment of teachers' understanding of RBIMs rely on such examples.

88.

All names are pseudonyms.

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