P691G – Graduate Student Professional Development Seminar

Week 5 – Understanding the different epistemic games students play while solving problems and how that information can be used to identify appropriate moments for intervention


  • Explain how students categorize problems as discussed in Redish and Chi et al. using the epistemic games discussed in Redish
  • Practice using this understanding to identify when to jump in and help groups of students (this is typically one of the most common questions that new GTAs have).


  • Perusall – Tuminaro, Jonathan, and Edward F. Redish. “Elements of a Cognitive Model of Physics Problem Solving: Epistemic Games.” Physical Review Special Topics – Physics Education Research 3, no. 2 (July 6, 2007): 020101. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.3.020101.


  • Tutorial – Looking at actual conversations from the published literature from actual groups of students solving problems.
    • Identify the different epistemic games played by students
    • Identify what the TA interventions in these situations are trying to accomplish
    • Identify when would be a good time to jump in