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Abstract Title: Juried Talks II
Abstract: This session consists of four juried talks.
Abstract Type: Juried Talk Session
Session Time: Parallel Sessions Cluster II
Room: Soldier Creek

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Organizing Committee

Symposium Specific Information

Presentation 1 Title: Analyzing the role of evidence in the model revision process
Presentation 1 Authors: Sarah K. Braden, Lauren Barth-Cohen
Presentation 1 Abstract: The Next Generation Science Standards promote modeling as an important scientific practice. However, instruction often leads students to create models of phenomena that lack mechanistic thinking and explanatory power. To better understand how students develop scientific models and how they use evidence to revise their models, this study compares cases of model revision from a 7th grade a unit on magnetism. Audio and video recordings of small groups and copies of student work were collected across multiple phases of instruction and coded using an existing framework for mechanistic reasoning with additional codes for students' uses of evidence. Results indicate that the individual and group models were pervasively mechanistic but that students used evidence to support their reasoning during unexpected moments in instruction. This presentation includes the analysis, instructional materials, and copies of student work for the audience to examine and discuss.
Presentation 2 Title: Impact of Group Work on Cognitive Load and Conceptual Test Performance
Presentation 2 Authors: Tianlong Zu, N. Sanjay Rebello
Presentation 2 Abstract: We investigated the effect of group work on students' conceptual test performance from a cognitive load perspective. Half students completed a conceptual test and a cognitive load survey both individually and in a group in the beginning and end of the semester. The other half complete all tests individually at all time. We found that group testing significantly improved test performance. More importantly, we found a significant interaction between the time the test is taken (beginning or end) and test format (individual or group) indicating that the performance improvement from individual to group testing is significantly larger at the end of the unit than that at the beginning.  Furthermore, working on the same test individually twice revealed no significant difference in testing performance. Cognitive load survey results showed working in groups could maintain a high level of germane load even though it may increase the extraneous load experienced by students.
Presentation 3 Title: Square Peg Thinking, Round Hole Problems
Presentation 3 Authors: Brian Farlow, Marlene Vega, Alden Bradley, Chaelee Dalton, Ruby Kalra, Jordan Brainard, Michael Loverude, Warren Christensen
Presentation 3 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.
Presentation 4 Title: Student Reasoning about Eigenvectors and Eigenvalues from a Resources Perspective
Presentation 4 Authors: Megan Wawro, Warren Christensen, Kevin Watson
Presentation 4 Abstract: Eigentheory is an important concept for modeling quantum mechanical systems. Research findings indicate that eigentheory is conceptually complex for students to deeply understand. The focus of this research is students' reasoning about eigenvectors and eigenvalues of 2x2 matrices as they transition into quantum mechanics. The data consist of video, transcript, and written work from individual, semi-structured interviews with 17 volunteer students enrolled in a quantum mechanics course from one of two universities. Responses were analyzed using a Resources (Hammer, 2000) framework, which allowed us to characterize nuances in how students understand various aspects of an eigentheory problem. We share three subthemes of results: interpreting the equations graphically, interpreting the equals sign, and determining solutions. These results are consistent with and extend previous research findings regarding not only how students reason about eigenvectors and eigenvalues but also about how students make sense of an equation, its components, and its solutions.