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Abstract Title: Examples of Student Geometric Reasoning in Upper-Division E&M Problems
Abstract: Students use a variety of problem-solving strategies involving geometric reasoning as they solve upper-division E&M problems in Oregon State University's Paradigms in physics courses. Seven classroom cameras were used to capture six groups of three students each as they solved a variety of electrostatic and magnetostatic problems. We look at two examples of student problem solving to illustrate the types of things students find challenging and the types of strategies they employ. In one example, students struggled with how to use integration as "chopping and adding" to find the electric potential in all space due to a static ring of charge. A second example shows interesting issues students address while finding the current for a spinning ring of charge Q, radius R, and period T. An analysis of classroom video shows some of the wrestling, sense making, geometric reasoning, and problem-solving strategies these groups used to eventually make fruitful progress.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Leonard Cerny
Oregon State University
1845 NW 14th St
Corvallis, OR 97330
Phone: 5417580561
and Co-Presenter(s)
Elizabeth Gire, Corinne Manogue