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ERIC Number: EJ1103903
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jul
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-9120
A Historical Study to Understand Students' Current Difficulties about RMS Values
Khantine-Langlois, Françoise; Munier, Valérie
Physics Education, v51 n4 Article 045004 Jul 2016
Several studies show that students experience more and more difficulties managing the measurements of electrical values in alternating current and that they have trouble making links between theory and practice. They find it difficult to give meaning to root mean square (RMS; or effective) values, which are not understood as average values and are confused with instantaneous values. This shows that students do not clearly differentiate variable and direct currents. In this paper we try, with a historical study and a study of teaching the concept of RMS values, to understand students' difficulties with this concept. In the first part we present an epistemological analysis of the concept of RMS values, showing that it is multifaceted and can be approached from different points of view. In the second part we analyse the evolution of French secondary school curricula and textbooks from the explicit introduction of variable currents to today, questioning the links between the evolution of the curricula and the evolution of the place of science and technology in our societies. We point out that the evolution of the curricula is linked to the social context and to the connections between science, technology and society, and also to the relationship with mathematics curricula. We show that alternating current is introduced earlier in the curriculum but has gradually lost all phenomenological description. This study allows us to better understand students' difficulties and to discuss some implications for teaching.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: France
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A