home - login - register

PERC 2014 Abstract Detail Page

Previous Page  |  New Search  |  Browse All

Abstract Title: Investigations of spin first instructional approach in teaching quantum mechancis
Abstract: We are investigating student learning of quantum mechanics in two different contexts. In one approach, postulates of quantum mechanics are introduced in the context of the wavefunction of a particle in a box with continuous bases of position probability densities. The second approach uses the context of Stern-Gerlach experiments with discrete spin bases.  We have measured student learning of the core concepts in courses using these approaches with common exam questions and a standardized conceptual instrument. Preliminary data suggest a small but positive impact on students' scores on topics related to quantum mechanical measurement in the classes taught using the discrete bases in the second approach. Preliminary data also suggest that using the discrete bases approach may shift student focus from computation to more sense making by providing concrete experimental evidence and simplifying the mathematical calculation processes. We will discuss the implications of this study for choices of initial context, the order, and emphasis of content being taught.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Homeyra Sadaghiani
Cal Poly Pomona
3801 W. Temple Ave.
Pomona, CA 91768