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Abstract Title: An Investigation of Student Ability to Connect Particulate and Macroscopic Representations of a Gas
Abstract: This interdisciplinary project assessed the extent to which students in general education courses across two departments understood the assumptions of small-particle models and the ways in which these models relate to measurable properties. Many general education courses are surveys of a wide body of material, but spend relatively little time on fundamental issues such as the particulate nature of matter. Students are increasingly exposed to small particle models through animations on websites and visualizations in science textbooks, however relatively little time is spent on the interpretation and use of these models. The implicit assumption is that students have little difficulty with an idea as basic as the particulate nature of matter and are able to use small-particle models to explain the behavior of the observable, macroscopic world. As part of this project, we embedded conceptually-oriented questions on written assessments in general education courses in physics and chemistry. Questions were drawn from the published literature in chemical and physics education and developed by the research team. The results of this project provide a baseline measurement of the extent to which a diverse population of students in introductory physical science courses was able to develop and use particulate models to reason about macroscopic observables.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster
Contributed Paper Record: Contributed Paper Information
Contributed Paper Download: Download Contributed Paper

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Kereen Monteyne
California State University Fullerton
800 N. State College Blvd.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Fullerton, CA 92834
Phone: 714-278-3881
and Co-Presenter(s)
Barbara L. Gonzalez, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, California State University Fullerton;

Michael E. Loverude, Department of Physics, California State University Fullerton