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Abstract Title: Blending Physics and Mathematical Sign
Abstract: In prior work, we found that upper-division students struggle with understanding and manipulating positive and negative signs while solving an introductory-level problem. Through the lens of conceptual blending, we argue that the task is challenging not because of the lack of student prerequisite knowledge or skill, but rather the complexity of choosing blends with appropriate emergent meaning for each algebraic sign. We build six different blends between two pairs of input spaces (sign & directionality; sign & location), which account for possible meaning of signs in the problem of interest. We do moment-by-moment analyses on two case studies drawn from student video in an upper-division Electromagnetism I course. Comparison of their reasoning shows us the common pattern of blends that they navigate among and which blends that lead them to successful problem solving, helping us understand how they struggle with algebra in the problem.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session III
Poster Number: C35

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Tra Huynh
Kansas State University, Physics Department
116 Cardwell Hall, 1228 N. 17th St.
Manhattan, KS 66506
Phone: 9713309614
and Co-Presenter(s)
Eleanor C. Sayre
Kansas State University, Physics Department