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Abstract Title: Linking terms to physical significance as an evaluation strategy
Abstract: One expected outcome of physics instruction is that students develop quantitative reasoning skills, including evaluation of problem solutions. To investigate students' use of evaluation strategies, we developed and administered tasks prompting students to check the validity of a given expression. We collected and analyzed written and interview data at the introductory, sophomore, and junior levels. Tasks were administered in three different physics contexts: the electric field due to three point charges of equal magnitude, the velocity of a block at the bottom of an incline with friction, and the final velocities of two masses in an elastic collision. An unexpected strategy used by some students was to associate physical significance with terms in an expression (e.g., associating a term in an electric field expression with a specific point charge). We explore the significance of these responses and propose explanations for the frequency of this phenomenon in different contexts.

Supported in part by NSF Grant PHY-1405726
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session II
Poster Number: B70

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Abolaji Akinyemi
University of Maine, Orono
18 Gym Drive
Orono, ME 04469
and Co-Presenter(s)
John R. Thompson, University Of Maine, Orono.
Michael E. Loverude, California State University – Fullerton.