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ERIC Number: ED350151
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Pages: 8
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Students' Problem-Solving in Mechanics: Preference of a Process Based Model.
Stavy, Ruth; And Others
Research in science and mathematics education has indicated that students often use inappropriate models for solving problems because they tend to mentally represent a problem according to surface features instead of referring to scientific concepts and features. The objective of the study reported in this paper was to determine whether 34 Israeli 11th grade students who studied physics as their major (novices) and who studied and mastered both topics in mechanics (dynamics and mechanical energy) exhibited a preference for a process-based model (Newton's Laws of Motion) or a structure based model (the Law of Conservation of Energy). This study compared the novice approach with the experienced problem solvers (22 high school physics teachers--experts). The problems given were both open ended and multiple choice. The results indicate that the majority of experts preferred the structure-based model and the novices preferred the process-based model. The use of the process based model allows the solver to construct a sequence of events that are causally related to each other and lead him/her to the required solution. The structure-based model is not connected to any causal sequence of known events, requiring instead a leap from the initial to the final state. It is concluded that reasoning in terms of processes is more intuitive than reasoning in terms of states or structures. (Contains 14 references.) (PR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Israel