aapt_program_final_sm13 - page 129

July 13–17, 2013
Wednesday afternoon
ter of introductory college physics, students were asked to draw a diagram
of light being emitted in all directions from a small source. An analysis of
these initial diagrams demonstrates the diversity of students’ prior knowl-
edge as well as the relative prevalence of some initial misconceptions in
geometric and physical optics.
3:50-4 p.m. How Students Combine Resources to
Understand Solar Cells
Contributed – AJ Richards, Rutgers University, 136 Frelinghuysen Road,
Piscataway, NJ 08854;
Darrick C. Jones, Eugenia Etkina, Rutgers University
We use the framework of resources to investigate how students construct
understanding of a complex modern physics topic that requires mastery of
several concepts. Specifically, we are interested in how students combine
multiple resources as they reason about a solar cell. We video recorded
preservice physics teachers learning about solar cells, analyzed their
interactions, and studied how they activated and combined resources. Our
findings show that certain combinations of resources can dramatically
improve students’ understanding and insight. This presentation will reveal
these combinations and discuss possible implications for instruction.
4-4:10 p.m. Cognitive Resources and Varied Expertise
Contributed – Darrick C. Jones, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey,
Department of Physics and Astronomy, 136 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway,
NJ 08854-8019;
AJ Richards, Eugenia Etkina, Rutgers
We compare the reasoning of individuals from different backgrounds with
varying levels of physics expertise as they attempt to solve novel physics
problems about solar cells, which incorporate advanced physics topics in-
cluding complex circuits and semiconductor physics. By performing a fine
grained analysis on the video recordings of the problem-solving sessions,
we determine what resources individuals used when reasoning about solar
cells. We analyze how resource activation differed between individuals and
how this influenced overall reasoning strategies. We present the results of
the study and discuss implications they have for instructional design.
4:10-4:20 p.m. Transfer of Physics Learning to Various
Disciplinary Contexts
Contributed – Bijaya Aryal, University of Minnesota-Rochester, 300 University
Square, 111 S. Broadway, Rochester, MN 55904;
Robert Dunbar, Rajeev Muthyala, Aminul Huq, Starr Sage, University of
This study reports on the utility of using various disciplines as vehicles to
deliver concepts within physics classes. Specifically we explore the degree
to which students’ transfer concepts from physics into various disciplinary
contexts such as anatomy/physiology, chemistry, mathematics, and public
health. The research design includes three phases of learning activities:
concept learning, context introduction, and transfer of physics learning
task incorporated into multidisciplinary integrated learning modules.
Qualitative and quantitative data will be presented to describe the impacts
of the various strategies employed at one or more stages of the learning ac-
tivities used. We report on the impact of altering the level of concreteness
of activities at concept learning stage and real world vs abstract example in
the context stage on student transfer of physics learning. We also discuss
our finding that the extent to which students use or transfer physics con-
cepts varies with disciplinary contexts.
Session GE: Upper Division and
Location: Salon Ballroom II/III
Date: Wednesday, July 17
Time: 2:40–4 p.m.
Presider: Steve Turley
2:40-2:50 p.m. A Revised and Improved Junior
‘Careers’ Course for Physics Majors
Contributed – Richard W. Robinett, Penn State University, Department of
Physics, 104 Davey Lab, University Park, PA 16802;
We describe the revised format and structure of a junior “careers” course
required of all physics majors at Penn State University. The course is
designed to provide “background on career choices available with an
undergraduate physics degree, including employment opportunities,
planning for graduate study, and tailoring the physics curriculum to meet
career goals.” Additional topics include scientific literacy and communica-
tion skills (including technical word processing) and the ethical conduct
of research. We describe the variety of classroom activities and homework
assignments used to address the course goals. We note how the class also
provides an opportunity for assessment of larger curricular goals within
the physics degree program.
2:50-3 p.m. A Structured Approach to Special
Relativity: Simultaneity, and Four Vectors
Contributed – Deepthi Amarasuriya, Northwest College, 231 W.6th S., Bldg.
24, Powell, WY 82435-1887;
Within the first few weeks of a Modern Physics course students are as-
signed a variety of exercises on Special Relativity. In addition to dealing
with counter-intuitive concepts, students are expected to first use the
appropriate mathematical formalism to convert given data into simple
equations. At this introductory stage, their natural tendency is to fall back
upon Newtonian notions of space and time, together with the equations
of classical mechanics. In the absence of appeals to intuition, it is crucial
that instructors properly guide students’ thinking along unfamiliar lines by
providing systematic approaches to problems on Special Relativity. In this
talk, I present some approaches that I have successfully used in my Modern
Physics course to do problems involving simultaneity, and the energy-
momentum four vector.
3-3:10 p.m. Capstone Course: Physics of Sustainability
Contributed – Mary M. Brewer, William Jewell College, 500 College Hill,
Liberty, MO 64068;
As part of a curriculum revision of the physics major at William Jewell
College, the department developed a capstone course for the major, The
Physics of Sustainability, which was taught for the first time during the
spring 2013 semester. The purpose of this course is to synthesize many
facets of physics, including mechanics, fluids, optics, electronics, material
science and nuclear physics, within the context of sustainable energy. The
course integrates material from earlier in the curriculum with new topics
and more in-depth theory, as well as practical applications. The students
plan, construct, and monitor both solar and wind systems. This talk will
focus on the content and structure of the course and the student response
to this first offering.
I...,119,120,121,122,123,124,125,126,127,128 130,131,132,133,134,135,136,137,138,139,...150
Powered by FlippingBook