Physics, especially at the introductory level, is not a subject that can be learned passively. In fact, recent results from Physics Education Research have clearly shown that engaging students in the classroom is critical to successful learning. SCALE-UP (Student-Centered- Active-Learning-Environment for Undergraduate-Programs) was introduced to the Physics Department at ODU when Larry Weinstein and Charles Sukenik observed this style in use by Dr. Robert Beichner at North Carolina State University
In SCALE-UP, students work on interesting activities in carefully structured groups of three, sitting around large round tables with white boards for working out problems and laptops for simulations and web access. Unlike a traditional class, most of the class time is spent on group activities that may include working problems at a whiteboard, answering "clicker questions" which test qualitative and quantitative understanding, and working on "mini-labs" which demonstrate the physics topic being learned.