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PERC 2019 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Students' Understanding of Matrix Algebra and Eigentheory
Abstract: As part of a project involving research on student use of mathematics in upper division physics, we have investigated student understanding of matrix algebra and eigentheory in the context of a mathematical methods course for physics majors. We focus on student written responses to three free-response questions that involve these applications. Students displayed proficiency with the procedures of matrix multiplication and determining eigenvalues with pure numbers; however, students struggle with carrying out the same calculations when given matrices with symbols rather than just pure numbers. As a result, many students misinterpret the variables and their individual meanings or physical interpretations. This work is supported by the NSF through grant PHYS-1405616.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session I
Poster Number: A88

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Pachi Her
California State University, Fullerton
800 N State College Blvd
Fullerton, CA 92831
and Co-Presenter(s)
Michael Loverude
California State University, Fullerton