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PERC 2009 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: The Effect of Representations on Student Understanding of Motion
Abstract: Students' intuitive ideas and tacit understandings about forces and motion are usually at odds with normative physics knowledge. In this project, we have developed a video game to increase students' understanding of Newtonian mechanics by giving them an opportunity to explore and articulate their tacit understandings, while retaining the strong motivational components of current commercial game design. The game play involves students manipulating the motion of an object to navigate mazes or hit projectile targets. Different forms of representations of motion (such as vector arrows and motion maps) are utilized in the game. This study examines how visual and position-based aspects of the representations help or hinder students in gaining understanding of the concepts and articulating them in a context outside of the game. Specifically, we are looking at how students are able to coordinate multiple representations and use them to make sense of the physics concepts involved.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Cynthia D'Angelo
Arizona State University
PO Box 870911
Tempe, AZ 85287-0911
and Co-Presenter(s)
Doug Clark, Vanderbilt University