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Abstract Title: “Rules without a Reason”: ODEs in a concept image framework
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Abstract: Elementary ODEs are seen as prerequisite knowledge gained from the introductory calculus sequence for any physics student entering the upper division. In this paper, we provide evidence that while students might be well-versed in the rules and notations of ODEs, this does not necessarily translate to the application of these "rules without a reason" to novel physics tasks. Using the mathematics education researchers Tall and Vinner's concept image framework, we propose that the body of knowledge or concept image a student brings to an upper division physics environment regarding ODEs is restricted. We present, via four student interviews, three potential signals of this "restricted concept image": mathematical processes that are formally taught in introductory calculus courses but are not reliably evoked when faced with a novel physics task. Our goal for this paper, as part of a larger project exploring student difficulties regarding ODEs, is to create a "proof of concept" that can be used in future work to more definitively identify the presence of a restricted ODE concept image.
Session Time: Poster Session 2
Poster Number: II-45
Contributed Paper Record: Contributed Paper Information
Contributed Paper Download: Download Contributed Paper

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Andy Fung
California State University-Fullerton
and Co-Presenter(s)
Michael Loverude, California State University-Fullerton