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Abstract Title: Students' Reasoning about the Inverse-square Law in Multiple Representations
Abstract: The inverse-square law is an important mathematical concept that is obeyed by various physical phenomena, such as gravitational and magnetic forces, intensities of sound and light. Although numerous curricular materials have been developed on the law, there has not been any research on teaching and learning of the law in mathematics and physics. We investigated the students' reasoning while responding to the questions based on the law posed in multiple representations, including graphical, numerical, and symbolic. We constructed two survey versions, one without any physical context and the other with various physical contexts. The surveys were administered in several introductory mathematics and physics courses. More than half of the students who responded the questions incorrectly based their reasoning on various salient features in the questions without engaging in genuine conceptual thinking. One common reasoning students provided was based on the inverse relationship rather than the inverse-square relationship between two variables.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session I
Poster Number: A57
Contributed Paper Record: Contributed Paper Information
Contributed Paper Download: Download Contributed Paper

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Daniel Marsh
Missouri Southern State University
3950 Newman Rd
Joplin, MO 64801
Phone: 417-659-4491
and Co-Presenter(s)
Rabindra Bajracharya
Missouri Southern State University

Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster