home - login - register

PERC 2015 Abstract Detail Page

Previous Page  |  New Search  |  Browse All

Abstract Title: How prompting force diagrams can push students away from problem-solving expertise
Abstract: Current step-by-step, problem-solving frameworks have been shown to improve problem-solving success.  However, solutions that break from these frameworks may embody a commonly unmeasured aspect of physics problem-solving expertise: use of conceptual shortcuts to minimize mathematical computations.  Adopting an approach from Heckler (2009), we show that prompting introductory physics students to draw free-body diagrams before solving force problems decreases the use of conceptual shortcuts and increases reproduction of standard procedures.  Extending this paradigm, students were then asked to evaluate an informal solution for a force problem.  When the problem text included a diagram prompt, students rated the informal solution less favorably, commenting that the solution was not formal enough.  These results imply that the prompt to draw a diagram not only cues procedural problem-solving approaches, but also pushes students away from informal approaches that could demonstrate problem-solving expertise.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Eric Kuo
Stanford University
and Co-Presenter(s)
Nicole R. Hallinen, Stanford University
Luke D. Conlin, Stanford University

Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster