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PERC 2012 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Students’ Categories of Mental Representations and Handling of Multiple External Representations
Abstract: The study explores the relationship between students' mental representations and their handling of sequential multiple representations. A total of 19 engineering students, taking a calculus-based physics course, participated in three individual interview sessions. They completed one directed and five non-directed kinematics tasks. The Johnson-Laird (1983) cognitive framework was used to categorize the types of mental constructs. More than half of the sample (11 in 19, 58%) constructed a propositional mental representation. The remaining 42% (8 in 19) of the cohort generated a mental image. None of the students was classified as constructing a mental model. A trend was observed in how students with these two kinds of cognitive structures handle multiple external representations. Moreover, their actions when dealing with the non-directed tasks posed with different representational formats seem to transfer and hence influence their approach with the directed task containing sequential multiple representations.
Footnote: This work is supported in part by U.S. National Science Foundation Grant # 0816207.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Bashirah Ibrahim
Kansas State University, Physics Department
116 Cardwell Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-2601
Phone: 7855321612
and Co-Presenter(s)
N. Sanjay Rebello