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Abstract Title: Fluctuations in Students' Understanding of Newton's 3rd Law
Abstract: We use a between-student testing methodology to assess student understanding of Newton's 3rd Law concepts on a weekly time scale. Students were tested both in Mechanics, the quarter in which the material was introduced, and in Electricity & Magnetism.  A significant increase in the number of students correctly answering conceptual questions is seen around the time of instruction, but it disappears by the end of the quarter.  More interestingly, a decrease in the number of correct responses is seen in the subsequent quarter precisely when instruction centers around the scalar topics of electric potential and voltage.  Once instruction returns to vector-based topics (Gauss' Law, magnetic fields, etc...), response scores relax back to their initial values
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Scott Franklin
Rochester Institute of Technology
Department of Physics
84 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5603
Phone: 585-475-2536
and Co-Presenter(s)
Jessica W. Clark
Rochester Institute of Technology

Eleanor C. Sayre
Wabash College