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Abstract Title: Vectors in the time of scalar instruction
Abstract: Introductory calculus-based physics includes the study of both vector and scalar topics. Typical research on student understanding has focused on the topics themselves; in this poster, we compare results across multiple topics drawn across the curriculum to track students' understanding as a function of time. Data was collected weekly using conceptual surveys from students attending Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the United States Military Academy at West Point throughout the introductory calculus-based physics sequence.  Students view problems involving vector concepts and problems involving scalar concepts differently depending on whether the current topic of instruction is vectors or scalars. The analysis suggests an interference between what is taught in class and the students' ability to solve vector and scalar problems.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Daryl McPadden
Colorado School of Mines and Kansas State University
and Co-Presenter(s)
Eleanor C Sayre
Kansas State University