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PERC 2015 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: The Contours that Influence Reasoning
Abstract: One goal of science instruction is, at least implicitly, to improve students' ability to reason logically about physical phenomena, data, and scientific concepts and models. Here I discuss a way of describing the origins of student difficulties with reasoning using the analogy of a contoured terrain or boundary. Specifically, reasoning and decision making is often constrained by strong tendencies to, for example, reply quickly, use the most available information, and make unwitting assumptions and observations aligned with beliefs and experience. I will provide some data on several examples in the context of physics education. In one of the cases studied the results provide tantalizing implications on how to "reshape the contours" and generally improve some reasoning skills. However, in most cases it is not clear if or how one might be able to improve reasoning skills beyond the specific contexts in which the skills are practiced.
Abstract Type: Symposium Talk
Parallel Session: Disentangling Student Reasoning from Conceptual Understanding

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Andrew Heckler
The Ohio State University