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Abstract Title: Student use of angular momentum operators to solve expectation value problems
Abstract: In this study we investigate how students who were enrolled in an upper division quantum mechanics course calculated the expectation value of two angular momentum operators.  Students were given an exam question that required the use of the generalized uncertainty principle to find the lower bound of the product of the uncertainties of two angular momentum operators.  This question required students to utilize several mathematical tools, but in this study we focused on the expectation value.  The data were analyzed using the ACER framework (Wilcox, 2013) and we give special attention to students' choice of mathematical representation. Of the four components in the ACER framework (activation, construction, execution, and reflection), we found that the activation step presents the largest stumbling block for students.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Chrystin Green
California State University Fullerton
and Co-Presenter(s)
Gina Passante
California State University Fullerton