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Abstract Title: Identifying student resources for reasoning microscopically about heat and temperature
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Abstract: We identify three conceptual resources that introductory physics students in our sample commonly use when reasoning microscopically about thermal physics topics: 1) differences will eventually even out, 2) macroscopic changes connect to microscopic collisions, and 3) when something is hotter (colder), its molecules are moving faster (slower). We report the prevalence of these resources, as well as the prevalence of microscopic thinking, in 624 written responses to three different heat and temperature questions administered to introductory physics students at four different colleges and universities. This work complements past research identifying common student difficulties in using microscopic models for heat and temperature, and it adds to the small but growing body of literature that focuses on student resources for heat and temperature, identifying ideas in student thinking that are sensible and continuous with formal physics. By reporting common student resources, we aim to assist instructors in noticing, appreciating, and building on student ideas during introductory thermal physics instruction.
Footnote: This work was supported in part by National Science Foundation grants 1914572 & 1914603.
Session Time: Poster Session 1
Poster Number: I-32
Contributed Paper Record: Contributed Paper Information
Contributed Paper Download: Download Contributed Paper

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Anne T. Alesandrini
University of Washington Seattle
Seattle, WA 98102
and Co-Presenter(s)
Tra Huynh (she/her), University of Washington Bothell
Lauren C. Bauman (she/her), University of Washington Seattle
Amy D. Robertson (she/her), Seattle Pacific University

Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster