ERIC Number: EJ1092462
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
Undergraduate Student Construction and Interpretation of Graphs in Physics Lab Activities
Nixon, Ryan S.; Godfrey, T. J.; Mayhew, Nicholas T.; Wiegert, Craig C.
Physical Review Physics Education Research, v12 n1 p010104-1-010104-19 Jan-Jun 2016
Lab activities are an important element of an undergraduate physics course. In these lab activities, students construct and interpret graphs in order to connect the procedures of the lab with an understanding of the related physics concepts. This study investigated undergraduate students' construction and interpretation of graphs with best-fit lines in the context of two physics lab activities. Students' graphs were evaluated for overall graph quality and for the quality of the best-fit line. The strategies students used and their understanding of the meaning of the graph were accessed through interviews. The results suggest that undergraduate introductory physics students can successfully construct graphs with best-fit lines while not connecting the meaning of the graph to the underlying physics concepts. Furthermore, results indicated that the most challenging aspect of constructing a graph is setting up the scale, and that graphing is situated in specific contexts.
Descriptors: Undergraduate Students, Graphs, Physics, Laboratory Procedures, Science Activities, Student Evaluation, Data Interpretation, Educational Quality, Cognitive Style, Learning Strategies, Science Achievement, Qualitative Research, Statistical Analysis, Semi Structured Interviews
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A