An analysis of articles published during the last decade (2002-2011) in an important Brazilian Physics teaching journal, which focused on experimental activities in the classroom, was presented, within the consideration of necessary reflections on the theoretical approach that sustains experimental activities in Physics teaching. It is thought that these kind of activities are immersed in an epistemological and pedagogical context, as they involve conceptions of reality, knowledge, scientific method (i.e. conceptions of science) and learning, student's alternative conceptions, and the relationship between contents and method (i.e. conception of curriculum). Analyzing the published articles, it was observed that in terms of methodology, different approaches in developing the experimental activities are emphasized: some of them are demonstrative, focusing on the observation; and some prioritize the students' participation in the activities, focusing on the investigation. The research has as the basic principle the emphasis on Learning or Interaction. While learning refers to understanding the scientific activities and the relationship between theoretical and practical knowledge, interaction emphasizes the relationship between the student and the activity, in social interaction, or even between disciplines.
experimental activities; Physics; epistemological assumptions; pedagogical approaches; research in teaching