AAPT Abstract Archive

Abstract Information

  Paper Type: Contributed
  Title: Bridging the Vector Calculus Gap*
  Meeting: 128th AAPT National Meeting: Miami Beach, FL
  Location: Le Jardin
  Date: Wednesday, Jan. 28
  Time: 3:15PM
  Author: Corinne Manogue, Oregon State Univ.
541-737-1695, corinne@physics.oregonstate.edu
  Co-Author(s): Tevian Dray
  Abstract: Students often have trouble "bridging the gap" between the presentation of vector calculus in mathematics and the application of those concepts to E&M. In education research at Oregon State University, Mount Holyoke College, and Grinnell College, we have discovered radical differences in the ways in which mathematicians and physicists think about these concepts. Based on these experiences, the Vector Calculus Bridge Project (http://www.physics.oregonstate.edu/bridge) has developed small group activities which encourage students to take a geometric approach to this material to help students make the transition. Students are initially dismayed that we break away from a focus on algebraic manipulation of cookbook formulas, but gradually develop into an engaged community of learners.
  Footnotes: *Supported by NSF grants #9653250 and #0231032.

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