Navigating moments of uncertainty and socio-emotional risks in small-group work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Supporting students’ sense-making in discussions and labs is an important goal of college physics instruction. In this study, we explore how students navigate the socio-emotional risks of collaboration during moments of uncertainty while doing a lab activity. Attending to sense-making in the video recording of one group’s work, we contrasted two episodes where the quality of their collaboration played out differently. We found that one of the group members changed how they navigated the tension that arose within the group from episode 1 to 2, going from disengagement to forceful idea-sharing, which increased the risk of disagreement in the second episode and hindered the group’s sense-making progress. This case study shows how different approaches to socio-emotional risks could lead to different conceptual results of group work, contributing another example to a body of work showing how achieving our objectives for collaborative learning depends on careful attention to students’ epistemological, conceptual, and socio-emotional resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhysics Education Research Conference Proceedings
EditorsMichael B. Bennett, Brian W. Frank, Rebecca E. Vieyra
PublisherAmerican Association of Physics Teachers
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9780917853487
StatePublished - 2021
EventPhysics Education Research Conference, PERC 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Aug 4 2021Aug 5 2021

Publication series

NamePhysics Education Research Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)1539-9028
ISSN (Electronic)2377-2379


ConferencePhysics Education Research Conference, PERC 2021
CityVirtual, Online

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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