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Abstract Title: Investigating students' understanding of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus
Abstract: The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus (FTC) is an extremely useful computational tool widely used for solving various physics problems. It is implicitly invoked in the evaluation of integral problems. Studies in mathematics education research have documented student difficulties with the underlying concepts of the FTC. We are investigating student difficulties with the FTC, and extending the work in mathematics to include situations relevant in physics. Questions administered as written surveys and individual interviews in calculus-based introductory physics and multivariable calculus classes focused on the determination of signs of integrals, primarily in graphical representations. Negative integrals in particular provided a rich context for the FTC application. We find that students use the FTC as a computational tool without understanding the underlying concepts. One observed difficulty is an operational confusion between the function endpoints and the antiderivative endpoints when determine the integral signs.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Rabindra R. Bajracharya
University of Maine
214 Bennett Hall
Physics Department
Orono, ME 04401
Phone: 2076029860
and Co-Presenter(s)
John R. Thompson