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PERC 2015 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Using a possibilities framework to understand student deductive reasoning attempts
Abstract: Students in physics courses often struggle to use or even follow formal reasoning when solving problems or analyzing physical situations. Instead, they tend to rely on "intuition" or temporarily salient thoughts that may be irrelevant to the situation at hand. Understanding what makes those ideas salient and why students make decisions based on them is necessary for improving communication with our students and helping them develop intuition based on proper reasoning. We approach this problem by assuming that students are authentically trying to reason, but they make subtle, nearly unconscious errors. Psychology research in deductive reasoning informs us that novice reasoners err by failing to consider all possibilities afforded by a given situation, either by failing to "see" them or by prematurely striking them down. We discuss how such errors may arise in physical situations and implications for instruction.
Abstract Type: Symposium Talk
Parallel Session: Disentangling Student Reasoning from Conceptual Understanding

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Jon Gaffney
Eastern Kentucky University