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Abstract Title: Algebra-Based Students & Vector Representations: Arrow vs. ijk
Abstract: A recent study of students in a calculus-based introductory physics course found that students performed significantly better on vector addition and subtraction tasks when the questions were given using the ijk representation instead of an ``arrows-on-a-grid'' representation.  This study also presented evidence that working knowledge of the ijk format was necessary to correctly perform vector operations in the arrow format, which has implications for instruction at the algebra level, as many courses and texts exclusively use the arrow format and neglect the ijk format.  We conducted a study of students in an algebra-based introductory physics course where students were given no explicit instruction on the ijk format, but had received instruction on the arrow format.  We find that the algebra-based students perform significantly higher in the ijk representation than the arrow representation in both one- and two-dimensional problems.  Our findings imply that algebra-based students would also benefit from ijk instruction.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: John B. Buncher
North Dakota State University
1301 North University Drive
Physics Department
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Phone: 218-303-6935