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Abstract Title: New ways of investigating the canonical ball toss problem
Abstract: Asking students about the acceleration of a tossed object is a well-studied problem in physics education research. Students frequently respond using reasoning that describes the velocity of the ball, in particular that acceleration is zero at the top. We created new versions of the canonical multiple-choice Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation ball-toss questions to investigate what other reasoning students might use. Some students were asked "is the acceleration zero at the top?" These students were half as likely to give a velocity-like response (that a=0) as were students answering the canonical form. Other students were told "the acceleration is not zero" and asked to explain. Roughly 75% of these students could explain why acceleration is not zero. This is in contrast to the 60% who say it is zero at the top. We discuss implications for instruction based on these data.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Michael C. Wittmann
University of Maine
5709 Bennett Hall
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469-5709
Phone: 2075811237
and Co-Presenter(s)
Jeffrey M. Hawkins, University of Maine

Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster