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ERIC Number: EJ1092474
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2469-9896
Generalizing a Categorization of Students' Interpretations of Linear Kinematics Graphs
Bollen, Laurens; De Cock, Mieke; Zuza, Kristina; Guisasola, Jenaro; van Kampen, Paul
Physical Review Physics Education Research, v12 n1 p010108-1-010108-10 Jan-Jun 2016
We have investigated whether and how a categorization of responses to questions on linear distance-time graphs, based on a study of Irish students enrolled in an algebra-based course, could be adopted and adapted to responses from students enrolled in calculus-based physics courses at universities in Flanders, Belgium (KU Leuven) and the Basque Country, Spain (University of the Basque Country). We discuss how we adapted the categorization to accommodate a much more diverse student cohort and explain how the prior knowledge of students may account for many differences in the prevalence of approaches and success rates. Although calculus-based physics students make fewer mistakes than algebra-based physics students, they encounter similar difficulties that are often related to incorrectly dividing two coordinates. We verified that a qualitative understanding of kinematics is an important but not sufficient condition for students to determine a correct value for the speed. When comparing responses to questions on linear distance-time graphs with responses to isomorphic questions on linear water level versus time graphs, we observed that the context of a question influences the approach students use. Neither qualitative understanding nor an ability to find the slope of a context-free graph proved to be a reliable predictor for the approach students use when they determine the instantaneous speed.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Belgium; Ireland; Spain
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A