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Abstract Title: Identifying Student Conceptual and Computational Resources in Setting Up Integral Expressions for the Electric Field of Continuous Charge Distribution
Abstract: Students in the introductory calculus-based physics courses are expected to apply concepts and skills developed in calculus courses to physics contexts, blending mathematical tools with physics conceptual understanding. Finding ways to help students to succeed in such endeavors is a central goal of research-based instruction. At the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, we have attempted to identify how student approaches compare for electromagnetic (E&M) and mechanics problems in an effort to inform the department for future modifications to the coursework. Students completed several tasks where they applied concepts and skills in a calculus-based E&M course in both mechanical and electromagnetic contexts--through interviews, homework assignments, and assessments.  While they demonstrate conceptual understanding of how these systems behave, they perform poorly when trying to express that behavior mathematically. In this research, we attempt to determine what obstacles prevent students from making connections between conceptual and mathematical understanding.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session I
Poster Number: A2

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Audrey Profeta
California Polytechnic State University - SLO
and Co-Presenter(s)
Chris Colborn, California Polytechnic State University - SLO
Matthew Moelter, California Polytechnic State University - SLO
Stamatis Vokos, California Polytechnic State University - SLO