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Physical Review Physics Education Research
written by Eric Burkholder, Lena Blackmon, and Carl E. Wieman
Much work has been done to characterize the reasoning of students as they solve mathematics-intensive problems and characterizing differences in expert and novice problem solving. In this work, we characterize the problem-solving strategies in a classroom setting of "transitioning novices," students who have completed an introductory physics course and have learned some problem-solving strategies, but are far from expertlike in their reasoning. We find that students mostly use intermediate strategies that reflect an understanding of specific relationships between quantities, such as analyzing the units of an expression, to reason about mathematical expressions. Few students use more sophisticated strategies like checking limits, which require students to run mental simulations to predict how a system will behave as different physical variables are changed. The teaching of more advanced strategies like limit checking will require careful scaffolding of the cognitive complexity, as students generally do not succeed when simply told to check limits. This is supported by the findings of Lin and Singh [Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 7, 020104 (2011)] that careful scaffolding is needed to help students solve more complex problems. In this particular group, students were able to successfully analyze the dimensions of an expression and compute component forces and torques to check if their answer made sense. Our results show that there is a need to recognize and teach these intermediary strategies to enable more novice students to check their answers and encourage students to become more expertlike.
Physical Review Physics Education Research: Volume 16, Issue 2, Pages 020134
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- General
Education - Applied Research
- Learning Environment
Education - Basic Research
- Cognition
= Cognition Development
- Learning Theory
= Cognitive Apprenticeship
= Transfer
- Problem Solving
= Expert-Novice Comparisons
- Research Design & Methodology
= Data
= Evaluation
- Sample Population
- Student Characteristics
= Ability
= Skills
General Physics
- Scientific Reasoning
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
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American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.020134
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created May 12, 2021 by Bruce Mason
Record Updated:
July 7, 2022 by Caroline Hall
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when Cataloged:
November 11, 2020
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AIP Format
E. Burkholder, L. Blackmon, and C. Wieman, , Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 16 (2), 020134 (2020), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.020134).
AJP/PRST-PER
E. Burkholder, L. Blackmon, and C. Wieman, Characterizing the mathematical problem-solving strategies of transitioning novice physics students, Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 16 (2), 020134 (2020), <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.020134>.
APA Format
Burkholder, E., Blackmon, L., & Wieman, C. (2020, November 11). Characterizing the mathematical problem-solving strategies of transitioning novice physics students. Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res., 16(2), 020134. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.020134
Chicago Format
Burkholder, E, L. Blackmon, and C. Wieman. "Characterizing the mathematical problem-solving strategies of transitioning novice physics students." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 16, no. 2, (November 11, 2020): 020134, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.020134 (accessed 20 June 2024).
MLA Format
Burkholder, Eric, Lena Blackmon, and Carl Wieman. "Characterizing the mathematical problem-solving strategies of transitioning novice physics students." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 16.2 (2020): 020134. 20 June 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.020134>.
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@article{ Author = "Eric Burkholder and Lena Blackmon and Carl Wieman", Title = {Characterizing the mathematical problem-solving strategies of transitioning novice physics students}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {16}, Number = {2}, Pages = {020134}, Month = {November}, Year = {2020} }
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%A Eric Burkholder %A Lena Blackmon %A Carl Wieman %T Characterizing the mathematical problem-solving strategies of transitioning novice physics students %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 16 %N 2 %D November 11, 2020 %P 020134 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.020134 %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Burkholder, Eric %A Blackmon, Lena %A Wieman, Carl %D November 11, 2020 %T Characterizing the mathematical problem-solving strategies of transitioning novice physics students %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 16 %N 2 %P 020134 %8 November 11, 2020 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.020134


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