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PERC 2013 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Students' Mental Models of Light and Color Mixing
Abstract: Students enter introductory physics courses with a variety of mental models about how the world works. These include pre-existing models about the nature of light and ideas about how different colors of light mix. 120 students enrolled in introductory physics filled out questionnaires before and after instruction about the nature of light and color mixing and explained why they answered the way that they did. We found that before instruction, students used either a model consistent with pigment mixing or a hybrid model to describe both the processes of pigment mixing and light mixing. Only students in the group whose instruction included explicit instruction on how the eye sensed color exhibited a changed mental model during the post-instruction questionnaire. We concluded that only instructional methods that demonstrate how the eye senses color have an impact in assisting students to develop mental models that are consistent with actual physical processes.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Louis E. Keiner
Coastal Carolina University
Department of Physics
109 Chanticleer Dr., East
Conway, SC 29526
Phone: 843-349-2226
Fax: 843-349-2841
and Co-Presenter(s)
Austin M. Hitt, Spadoni College of Education, Coastal Carolina University