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ERIC Number: ED519225
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 832
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1241-9636-7
Facilitating Case Reuse during Problem Solving in Algebra-Based Physics
Mateycik, Frances Ann
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Kansas State University
This research project investigates students' development of problem solving schemata while using strategies that facilitate the process of using solved examples to assist with a new problem (case reuse). Focus group learning interviews were used to explore students' perceptions and understanding of several problem solving strategies. Individual clinical interviews were conducted and quantitative examination data were collected to assess students' conceptual understanding, knowledge organization, and problem solving performance on a variety of problem tasks. The study began with a short one-time treatment of two independent, research-based strategies chosen to facilitate case reuse. Exploration of students' perceptions and use of the strategies lead investigators to select one of the two strategies to be implemented over a full semester of focus group interviews. The strategy chosen was structure mapping. Structure maps are defined as visual representations of quantities and their associations. They were created by experts to model the appropriate mental organization of knowledge elements for a given physical concept. Students were asked to use these maps as they were comfortable while problem solving. Data obtained from this phase of our study (Phase I) offered no evidence of improved problem solving schema. The 11 contact hour study was barely sufficient time for students to become comfortable using the maps. A set of simpler strategies were selected for their more explicit facilitation of analogical reasoning, and were used together during two more semester long focus group treatments (Phase II and Phase III of this study). These strategies included the use of a step-by-step process aimed at reducing cognitive load associated with mathematical procedure, direct reflection of principles involved in a given set of problems, and the direct comparison of problem pairs designed to be void of surface similarities (similar objects or object orientations) and sharing physical principles (conservation of energy problems). Overall, our results from the final two phases of this project indicate that these strategies are helpful in facilitating student ability to identify important information from given problems. The promising results from our study have significant implications for further research, curriculum material development, and instruction. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A