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Abstract Title: Square Peg Thinking, Round Hole Problems
Abstract: Our research team seeks to develop research-based curriculum to aid students in translating across the math-physics interface in the upper division, specifically in the areas of basic vector concepts within various spatial coordinate systems. We developed an interview protocol and conducted 7 interviews with subjects at the junior undergraduate level and higher with analysis guided by Resource Theory. A case study and analysis of a common response type – making curvilinear-coordinate position vector expressions look like those of Cartesian coordinates – revealed a tendency for students to inappropriately activate resources productive in Cartesian coordinates in curvilinear coordinate situations. Analysis of Calculus textbooks revealed Cartesian-coordinate-based instruction comprised 95% of the content of those texts. Calculus III students also showed combinations of productive and non-productive ideas about these vector ideas at the end of their courses. We report in more detail and outline how our findings will inform future instructional material development.
Abstract Type: Juried Talk
Parallel Session: Juried Talks II
Session Time: Parallel Sessions Cluster II
Room: Soldier Creek

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Brian Farlow
North Dakota State University
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Marlene Vega, Alden Bradley, Chaelee Dalton, Ruby Kalra, Jordan Brainard, Michael Loverude, Warren Christensen