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2011 AAPT Summer Meeting
July 30-August 3, 2011
Omaha, Nebraska

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Learning Mathematics in a Physics Classroom
  Location: HC 3023 & 3023A
  Date: Monday, Aug.1
  Time: 7:30 PM -7:40 PM
  Author: Jing Wang, Eastern Kentucky University
  Co-Author(s): Jerry Cook
  Abstract: It has long been known that a students' entering mathematical skill level is one of the best indicators of success in introductory physics courses.[1, 2] Physics teachers expect that students who meet the prerequisite requirement of an introductory physics course will be well-prepared, however, this is not always the case. In reality, every physics teacher faces the challenging question: Can we identify and save the students who meet the required course prerequisite yet who are not really prepared? A recent study at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Eastern Kentucky University suggests that when students take physics, their mathematical skills improve significantly, perhaps even more so than they do in a traditional mathematics course. This work will focus on the analysis of what mathematical skills have been improved, and reveal the link between the course content and mathematical skill improvement.
  Footnotes: [1] I. A. Halloun and D. Hestenes, The initial knowledge state of college physics students. American Journal of Physics, 53(11), 1043-1055 (1985) [2] D. E. Meltzer, The relationship between mathematics preparation and conceptual learning gains in physics: A possible ?hidden variable? in diagnostic pretest scores. American Journal of Physics, 70(12), 1259-1268 (2002)
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