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ERIC Number: EJ1076740
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1554-9178
Mathematical Actions as Procedural Resources: An Example from the Separation of Variables
Wittmann, Michael C.; Black, Katrina E.
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, v11 n2 p020114-1-020114-13 Jul-Dec 2015
Students learning to separate variables in order to solve a differential equation have multiple ways of correctly doing so. The procedures involved in "separation" include "division" or "multiplication" after properly "grouping" terms in an equation, "moving" terms (again, at times grouped) from one location on the page to another, or simply carrying out "separation" as a single act without showing any steps. We describe student use of these procedures in terms of Hammer's resources, showing that each of the previously listed procedures is its own "piece" of a larger problem solving activity. Our data come from group examinations of students separating variables while solving an air resistance problem in an intermediate mechanics class. Through detailed analysis of four groups of students, we motivate that the mathematical procedures are resources and show the issues that students must resolve in order to successfully separate variables. We use this analysis to suggest ways in which new resources (such as "separation") come to be. [This paper is part of the Focused Collection on Upper Division Physics Courses.]
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE-0441426; DUE-0442388; REC- 0633951; MSP-0962805