Journal Article Detail Page
Exploring the role of conceptual scaffolding in solving synthesis problems
written by Lin Ding, Neville W. Reay, Albert Lee, and Lei Bao
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.
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research: Volume 7, Issue 2, Pages 020109
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!
Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.
Citation Source Information
The AJP/PRST-PER presented is based on the AIP Style with the addition of journal article titles and conference proceeding article titles.
The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.
The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.
The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.