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Abstract Title: Making models of measurement tools: Examples from think-aloud student interviews
Abstract: Constructing and using models is a core scientific practice that has gained significant attention within K-12 and higher education.  Although modeling is a broadly applicable process, within physics education it has been preferentially applied to the iterative development of broadly-applicable principles (e.g., Newton's laws of motion in introductory mechanics).  We show how similar modeling processes can be invoked as a means to understand the real-world complexities of experimental apparatus and measurement tools in upper-division laboratory courses.  In the context of a think-aloud experimental activity involving optics and electronics, we document examples where students apply all of the key facets of modeling to their apparatus and measurement tools:  construction, prediction, interpretation of data, identification of model limitations, and revision.   A modeling perspective reframes many of the seemingly arbitrary technical details of measurement tools and apparatus as an opportunity for authentic and engaging scientific sense-making.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Benjamin Zwickl
Rochester Institute of Technology
84 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5603
Phone: 5854754512
and Co-Presenter(s)
Dehui Hu (Rochester Institute of Technology)
Noah Finkelstein (University of Colorado Boulder)
Heather Lewandowski (University of Colorado Boulder and JILA)

Contributed Paper

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Contributed Poster

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