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PERC 2015 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: How to Structure an Unstructured Activity: Comparing PhET Simulation and Contrasting Cases to Generate Physics Principle
Abstract: Studies show that having students attempt to generate a scientific principle before receiving formal instruction can benefit their learning. However, the design affordances of these generation activities have not been fully addressed. In this paper, we compare the effect of two different generation activities on student learning of a buoyancy principle. In one condition students are provided with representative cases of a phenomenon to generate the principle. In the other condition, to generate the rule, students can more freely explore the phenomenon using an interactive simulation.  83 community college students participated in the study. Students in the representative cases condition generated more complete rules and performed significantly better in solving buoyancy problems. We hypothesize that this variation between conditions results from different levels of exposure to important cases. This study suggests that proper scaffolding to assure sufficient exposure is essential in designing a generation activity.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: shima salehi
160, 450 Serra Mall, Fourth floor, AAA Lab
Stanford,, CA 94305
Phone: 6508044446
and Co-Presenter(s)
Marty Keil, Stanford University
Eric Kuo, Stanford University
Carl Wieman, Stanford University

Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster