Group discussions were introduced in an introductory physics course at the National University of Laos. About 200 students discussed two qualitative questions in groups of 3- 4 students. This was followed by whole class discussions. We examined this new method and identified problems and possibilities with it. Seven groups were recorded and students and teachers were interviewed. Findings indicate that many students had problems with mechanics concepts. In the group discussions most students co-constructed an answer. However, the students in general did not seem to come to an understanding of the physics concepts, and in class follow-up discussion proved to be an essential tool for a better understanding. To improve the discussions, the students need more time and should also be informed about the essentials of working in groups.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.