ERIC Number: ED477691
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Mar
The Vocabulary of Physics and Its Impact on Student Learning.
Itza-Ortiz, Salomon F.; Rebello, N. Sanjay; Zollman, Dean A.
The everyday meaning and usage of several words can differ significantly from their meaning and usage in physics. Examining these differences, and how students respond to them, may shed some light on students' physical learning difficulties. We surveyed (N=154) students in a conceptual physics course on their use of some words, "force", "momentum" and "impulse." We also interviewed some (N=14) of these students to probe their understanding of these terms and to triangulate data collected from the surveys. We found that students who were able to clearly discern the similarities and dissimilarities between the physics and everyday usage scored higher on a class exam that tested these concepts. In the interviews, students who were able to explain the distinction between the physics and everyday meanings often described the words in terms of the physical parameters associated with them. (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (Philadelphia, PA, March, 2003).