home - login - register

PERC 2022 Abstract Detail Page

Previous Page  |  New Search  |  Browse All

Abstract Title: Student reasoning about partial derivatives in divergence and curl in vector field graphical representations
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Abstract: As part of an ongoing project to investigate student learning of, and reasoning with, mathematics in upper-division physics, we have examined student understanding of divergence and curl. We developed a series of tasks focusing on interpretations of graphical representations of these quantities as well as their constituent partial derivatives. Written data were collected in Mathematical Methods courses at two universities after students were introduced to vector calculus. Previous work in PER described student reasoning in determining divergence and curl. We will present student reasoning with the constituent partial derivatives and how students relate those to divergence and curl. Student responses reflect the complexity of reasoning with partial derivatives of vector quantities, as well as difficulties suggestive of a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between sign and direction.
Footnote: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. PHY-1912087 and PHY-1912660.
Session Time: Poster Session 3
Poster Number: III-39

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Zeynep Topdemir
University of Maine
Orono, ME
and Co-Presenter(s)
John R. Thompson (he/his), University of Maine
Michael E. Loverude (he/his), California State University, Fullerton