ERIC Number: ED306097
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989
The Effect of New Vocabulary on Problem Solving in Novice Physics Students.
Sobolewski, Stanley J.
One of the difficulties encountered by novice problem solvers in introductory physics is in the area of problem solving. It has been shown in other studies that poor problem solvers are affected by the surface aspects of the problem in contrast with more efficient problem solvers who are capable of constructing a mental model of the physical situation before the mechanics to solve the problem are begun. It was hypothesized that a neophyte physics problem solver focuses on the technical terminology of physics rather than on the underlying process; the new vocabulary that is introduced confounds the process of problem solving. The treatment in the experimental study was a reading passage in potential and kinetic energy along with examples in solving energy problems. Two treatments are being developed which are identical except in the use of traditional or non-traditional terms. The non-traditional terms were invented, nonsense terms. A population of 31 high school students ages 15-18 were randomly assigned to two groups. It was found that there was no statistically significant difference between the means of the two groups. (Author)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers; Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (62nd, San Francisco, CA, March 30-April 1, 1989).