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Abstract Title: Scaffolding Students’ Understanding of Force in Pulley Systems
Abstract: Research has shown that students have several misconceptions about pulleys. Students must elicit and confront these misconceptions in order to construct a mental model of how pulley systems work.  We report on a study with students in a conceptual physics laboratory using either physical or virtual manipulatives to investigate forces in pulley systems.  Written materials guided students through a sequence of activities designed to scaffold their model construction process.  The activity sequences facilitated students' sense making by requiring them to make and test predictions about various pulley systems by building and comparing different systems.  We investigate the ways in which students discuss force while navigating the scaffolding activities and how the students' mental model development of pulley systems compares between the physical and virtual treatments.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Amy Rouinfar
Kansas State University
116 Cardwell Hall
Kansas State Dept. of Physics
Manhattan, KS 66506
and Co-Presenter(s)
Adrian Madsen, Kansas State University
Tram Do Ngoc Hoang, Ho Chi Minh City University of Pedagogy
Sadhana Puntambekar, University of Wisconsin
N. Sanjay Rebello, Kansas State University