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Investigating context dependence of introductory and advanced student responses to introductory thermodynamics conceptual problems
written by Mary Jane Brundage, David E. Meltzer, and Chandralekha Singh
We use a validated conceptual multiple-choice survey instrument focusing on thermodynamic processes and the first and second laws of thermodynamics as covered in introductory physics to investigate the context dependence of introductory and advanced student responses to introductory thermodynamics problems after instruction. The survey has conceptual problems that incorporate many contexts with the same underlying principles and concepts involving internal energy, work, heat transfer, and entropy. Here we focus exclusively on entropy.  This study used data from over 1000 college students in introductory-level algebra- and calculus-based physics courses as well as upper-level thermodynamics courses. In addition to prior research, think-aloud interviews with a small subset of students in which they were asked to answer the survey problems while thinking-aloud were useful for understanding the context dependence of student responses in some situations, and why students may have greater difficulties in some contexts than in others. Here we present analysis of data in multiple contexts reflecting students' ideas about the change in entropy of a gas in spontaneous/irreversible processes and in cyclic processes. We find that a persistent belief in the constancy of entropy even for spontaneous/irreversible processes is a common difficulty among introductory students across problems with different contexts, while upper-level students had great difficulty across contexts in which identifying entropy as a state variable is important. For example, overall, upper-level students struggled somewhat more than introductory students with the fact that the entropy of the system does not increase, e.g., in cyclic processes after one complete cycle. Our findings using a validated survey confirm the findings of prior research in multiple contexts.
Physics Education Research Conference 2023
Part of the PER Conference series
Sacramento, CA: July 19-20, 2023
Pages 70-75
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Alternative Conceptions
- Assessment
= Conceptual Assessment
Thermo & Stat Mech
- Second and Third Law
= Entropy
- Lower Undergraduate
- Upper Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Researchers
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Format:
application/pdf
Mirror:
https://doi.org/10.1119/perc.2023…
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This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the published article's author(s), title, proceedings citation, and DOI.
Rights Holder:
American Association of Physics Teachers
DOI:
10.1119/perc.2023.pr.Brundage
Keyword:
PERC 2023
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created September 20, 2023 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
September 27, 2023 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
October 15, 2023
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AIP Format
M. Brundage, D. Meltzer, and C. Singh, , presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2023, Sacramento, CA, 2023, WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=16562&DocID=5742).
AJP/PRST-PER
M. Brundage, D. Meltzer, and C. Singh, Investigating context dependence of introductory and advanced student responses to introductory thermodynamics conceptual problems, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2023, Sacramento, CA, 2023, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=16562&DocID=5742>.
APA Format
Brundage, M., Meltzer, D., & Singh, C. (2023, July 19-20). Investigating context dependence of introductory and advanced student responses to introductory thermodynamics conceptual problems. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2023, Sacramento, CA. Retrieved May 27, 2024, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=16562&DocID=5742
Chicago Format
Brundage, M, D. Meltzer, and C. Singh. "Investigating context dependence of introductory and advanced student responses to introductory thermodynamics conceptual problems." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2023, Sacramento, CA, July 19-20, 2023. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=16562&DocID=5742 (accessed 27 May 2024).
MLA Format
Brundage, Mary Jane, David Meltzer, and Chandralekha Singh. "Investigating context dependence of introductory and advanced student responses to introductory thermodynamics conceptual problems." Physics Education Research Conference 2023. Sacramento, CA: 2023. 70-75 of PER Conference. 27 May 2024 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=16562&DocID=5742>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{ Author = "Mary Jane Brundage and David Meltzer and Chandralekha Singh", Title = {Investigating context dependence of introductory and advanced student responses to introductory thermodynamics conceptual problems}, BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2023}, Pages = {70-75}, Address = {Sacramento, CA}, Series = {PER Conference}, Month = {July 19-20}, Year = {2023} }
Refer Export Format

%A Mary Jane Brundage %A David Meltzer %A Chandralekha Singh %T Investigating context dependence of introductory and advanced student responses to introductory thermodynamics conceptual problems %S PER Conference %D July 19-20 2023 %P 70-75 %C Sacramento, CA %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=16562&DocID=5742 %O Physics Education Research Conference 2023 %O July 19-20 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Conference Proceedings %A Brundage, Mary Jane %A Meltzer, David %A Singh, Chandralekha %D July 19-20 2023 %T Investigating context dependence of introductory and advanced student responses to introductory thermodynamics conceptual problems %B Physics Education Research Conference 2023 %C Sacramento, CA %P 70-75 %S PER Conference %8 July 19-20 %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=16562&DocID=5742


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