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Amos, Nathaniel; Heckler, Andrew F. – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 2018
In the context of introductory physics, we study student conceptual understanding of differentials, differential products, and integrals and possible pathways to understanding these quantities. We developed a multiple choice conceptual assessment employing a variety of physical contexts probing physical understanding of these three quantities and…
Descriptors: Physics, Introductory Courses, Science Instruction, Scores
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Heckler, Andrew F.; Bogdan, Abigail M. – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 2018
A critical component of scientific reasoning is the consideration of alternative explanations. Recognizing that decades of cognitive psychology research have demonstrated that relative cognitive accessibility, or "what comes to mind," strongly affects how people reason in a given context, we articulate a simple "cognitive…
Descriptors: Science Process Skills, Abstract Reasoning, Thinking Skills, Physics
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Blue, Jennifer – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 2018
[This paper is part of the Focused Collection on Astronomy Education Research.] Students taking a second astronomy course for nonscientists were asked to reflect on the nature of scientific inquiry three times during the first half of the semester. First, they were assigned a short paper in which they were asked to argue for or against the thesis…
Descriptors: Astronomy, Science Instruction, Scientific Principles, Student Attitudes
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Badeau, Ryan; White, Daniel R.; Ibrahim, Bashirah; Ding, Lin; Heckler, Andrew F. – Physical Review Physics Education Research, 2017
The ability to solve physics problems that require multiple concepts from across the physics curriculum--"synthesis" problems--is often a goal of physics instruction. Three experiments were designed to evaluate the effectiveness of two instructional methods employing worked examples on student performance with synthesis problems; these…
Descriptors: Synthesis, Best Practices, Physics, Problem Solving
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Ding, Lin; Reay, Neville; Lee, Albert; Bao, Lei – Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 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…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, College Science, Introductory Courses
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Scaife, Thomas M.; Heckler, Andrew F. – Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 2011
We investigate student confusion of concepts of electric and magnetic force. At various times during a traditional university-level course, we administered a series of simple questions about the direction of force on a charged particle moving through either an electric or a magnetic field. We find that after electric force instruction but before…
Descriptors: Physics, Scientific Concepts, Magnets, Energy
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Ding, Lin; Reay, Neville W.; Lee, Albert; Bao, Lei – Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 2008
Pre-testing and post-testing is a commonly used method in Physics Education Research to assess student learning gains. It is well recognized in the community that timings and incentives in delivering conceptual tests can impact test results. However, it is difficult to control these variables across different studies. As a common practice, a…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Education, Pretests Posttests, Student Evaluation
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Koenig, Kathleen M.; Endorf, Robert J.; Braun, Gregory A. – Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 2007
We present results from a comparative study of student understanding for students who attended recitation classes that used different teaching methods. Student volunteers from our introductory calculus-based physics course attended a special recitation class that was taught using one of four different teaching methods. A total of 272 students were…
Descriptors: Instructional Effectiveness, Physics, Introductory Courses, Science Instruction