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ERIC Number: EJ945019
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 41
ISSN: ISSN-1554-9178
Exploring the Role of Conceptual Scaffolding in Solving Synthesis Problems
Ding, Lin; Reay, Neville; Lee, Albert; Bao, Lei
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, v7 n2 p020109-1-020109-11 Jul-Dec 2011
It is well documented that when solving problems experts first search for underlying concepts while students tend to look for equations and previously worked examples. The overwhelming majority of end-of-chapter (EOC) problems in most introductory physics textbooks contain only material and examples discussed in a single chapter, rarely requiring a solver to conduct a general search for underlying concepts. Hypothesizing that complete reliance on EOC problems trains students to rely on a nonexpert approach, we designed and implemented "synthesis" problems, each combining two major concepts that are broadly separated in the teaching timeline. To provide students with guided conceptual scaffolding, we encapsulated each synthesis problem into a sequence with two preceding conceptually based multiple-choice questions. Each question contained one of the major concepts covered in the subsequent synthesis problem. Results from a small-scale interview study and two large-scale written tests showed that the scaffolding encouraged students to search for and apply appropriate fundamental principles in solving synthesis problems, and that repeated training using scaffolded synthesis problems also helped students to make cross-topic transfers. (Contains 9 figures and 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio