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ERIC Number: EJ1095819
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: EISSN-2469-9896
EISSN: N/A
Analytical Derivation: An Epistemic Game for Solving Mathematically Based Physics Problems
Bajracharya, Rabindra R.; Thompson, John R.
Physical Review Physics Education Research, v12 n1 p010124-1-010124-21 Jan-Jun 2016
Problem solving, which often involves multiple steps, is an integral part of physics learning and teaching. Using the perspective of the epistemic game, we documented a specific game that is commonly pursued by students while solving mathematically based physics problems: the "analytical derivation" game. This game involves deriving an equation through symbolic manipulations and routine mathematical operations, usually without any physical interpretation of the processes. This game often creates cognitive obstacles in students, preventing them from using alternative resources or better approaches during problem solving. We conducted hour-long, semi-structured, individual interviews with fourteen introductory physics students. Students were asked to solve four "pseudophysics" problems containing algebraic and graphical representations. The problems required the application of the fundamental theorem of calculus (FTC), which is one of the most frequently used mathematical concepts in physics problem solving. We show that the "analytical derivation" game is necessary, but not sufficient, to solve mathematically based physics problems, specifically those involving graphical representations.
American Physical Society. One Physics Ellipse 4th Floor, College Park, MD 20740-3844. Tel: 301-209-3200; Fax: 301-209-0865; e-mail: assocpub@aps.org; Web site: http://prst-per.aps.org
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: DUE0817282; PHY1405726