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PERC 2013 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Multiple Perspectives on Student Syntheses of Concepts in Thermal Physics
Abstract: We have previously reported examples of student failures to conceptually combine Boltzmann factors with the density of states appropriately in thermal physics. Our earlier analyses focused on specific student difficulties observed directly from the data; e.g., students successfully describe ideas related to either the Boltzmann factor or the density of states, but do not often articulate the simultaneous effects of both, as required by the physical context. We now extend our findings by analyzing student data through multiple theoretical lenses, such as a resources perspective and the framework of conceptual blending, among others. Employing these perspectives illuminates valuable features of the data previously unavailable to us.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Trevor I. Smith
Dickinson College
Physics and Astronomy
P.O. Box 1773
Carlisle, PA 17013
Phone: 7172451443
and Co-Presenter(s)
John R. Thompson, University of Maine
Donald B. Mountcastle, University of Maine