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Abstract Title: Students' use of consistency checks while sensemaking in inquiry-based labs
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Abstract: With the growing implementation of reform-based physics labs, students are expected to utilize complex experimental skills, requiring them to engage in sensemaking. This study identifies a type of sensemaking process that occurs in laboratory settings, namely consistency checks. A consistency check is when a student identifies a data element and checks whether it is consistent with their knowledge of the relevant system. The roles of consistency checks are analyzed in the context of Introductory Physics for Life Sciences labs. We identify paths students can take while engaging in consistency checks and examine two student groups that utilize consistency checks in this lab environment. The identification of consistency checks as a productive process has a broad range of instructional implications for inquiry-based labs. Instructors' abilities to identify and encourage use of these checks has the potential to improve students' sensemaking abilities and understanding of physical mechanisms in biological contexts.
Session Time: Poster Session 3
Poster Number: III-73

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Molly Griston
University of Colorado Boulder, University of Rochester
and Co-Presenter(s)
Lauren A. Barth-Cohen (she/her), University of Utah
Jason M. May (he/him), University of Utah