AAPT Abstract Archive

Abstract Information

  Session: Upper Division and Graduate
  Paper Type: Poster
  Title: Exploring Expert Navigation of a Thermodynamics Maze
  Meeting: 2013 Winter Meeting: New Orleans, Louisiana
  Location: N/A
  Time: 8:30PM
  Author: Mary Bridget Kustusch, Oregon State University
541-737-6080, mary.bridget@physics.oregonstate.edu
  Co-Author(s): David Roundy, Tevian Dray, Corinne Manogue
  Abstract: Several studies in recent years have demonstrated that upper-division students struggle with partial derivatives and the complicated chain rules ubiquitous in thermodynamics problems. In order to better understand what is necessary to successfully navigate these problems, we conducted interviews with experts (faculty and graduate students), asking them to solve a challenging thermodynamics problem. This poster presents the physical and mathematical sense-making employed by these experts as they attempted to solve this problem. Particular emphasis is given to the questions asked, tools used, warrants employed, and the value placed on different conclusions.
  Footnotes: None

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