ERIC Number: ED357965
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1987
Reference Count: N/A
Restructuring Conceptions of Motion in Physics--Naive Students.
Students lacking formal training in physics have great difficulty predicting the paths of various projectiles. With respect to pendulum-bobs that are released from various points in a swing, a previous experiment found that empirical feedback (i.e., resultant trajectories) produced transfer-of-training to other pendular-based tasks. However, such feedback did not facilitate transfer to some isomorphic dropping and throwing situations. In the present experiment, college students from an introductory psychology course (n=42) were additionally provided with a subtle analogical hint, in that they had to judge which of the pendular-release situations are fundamentally similar to the dropping and throwing items. The results show that the similarity judgments successfully catalyzed transfer from the pendular-release feedback to the dropping and throwing tasks. The data further showed that the subjects restructured their understanding of the relationships between various kinds of projectiles and improved the integration of their beliefs about motion. After two weeks, these conceptual changes remained stable. But such learning was limited by the nonconceptual nature of the feedback. Even after eventually receiving feedback for the similarity-judgment tasks (i.e., the correct choices), the students could not transfer their new conceptions of motion to tasks involving zero-gravity. Indeed, these new ideas rarely included the denial of previously held beliefs about impetus. While a few subjects came to deny prior internal-force and curvilinear impetus beliefs, none of them fully denied the notion of dissipation, in which an object's initial speed "peters out." (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Naval Research, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A