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Abstract Title: Student Issues in Measuring with Wavelengths (and some thoughts about developing "check-your-answer" skills)
Abstract: When physics students are asked to measure the distance between two fixed locations using a pre-defined wavelength as a ruler, there is a surprising failure rate, at least partially due to the fact that the ``ruler'' to be used is not fixed in length (see ``Is a Simple Measurement Task a Roadblock to Student Understanding of Wave Phenomena?,'' by M. Kryjevskaia, M. Stetzer, and P. Heron, The Physics Teacher 51,560, (2103) and references therein). I will show some data from introductory classes (algebra- and calculus-based) that replicate this latter result, and also show some interesting features when comparing settings involving slinkies with setting involving surface waves on water. Finally, I approach the larger question of how to develop expert-like behavior such as "checking-a-plausible-answer" in novices.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Gary White
The George Washington University
725 21st St NW
Room 105 Corcoran Hall
Washington, DC, 20052
Phone: 2029946275