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Abstract Title: Towards a framework on the use of mathematics in physics
Abstract: At CU Boulder, as part of our broader efforts to transform middle- and upper-division physics courses, we research students' difficulties with particular concepts, methods, and tools in classical mechanics, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics. Unsurprisingly, a number of difficulties are related to students' use of mathematical tools (e.g., approximation methods). Previous work has outlined a number of challenges that students must overcome to use mathematical tools fluently in introductory physics (e.g., mapping meaning onto mathematical symbols, Redish 2006). We have begun to develop a conceptual framework to facilitate connecting students' difficulties to challenges with specific mathematical and physical concepts. In this paper, we motivate the need for a framework on the use of mathematics in physics and its utility to both researchers and course instructors. We also present its initial application to frame results from interview data investigating students' use of Taylor series.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Marcos D. Caballero
University of Colorado Boulder
UCB 390, Department of Physics
2000 Colorado Ave.
Boulder, CO 80309
and Co-Presenter(s)
Bethany R. Wilcox (University of Colorado Boulder)
Rachel E. Pepper (University of California Berkeley)
Steven J. Pollock (University of Colorado Boulder)