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2010 Summer Meeting

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

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Should students be provided diagrams or asked to draw them while solving introductory physics problems?
  Location: HC 3040
  Date: Wednesday, Aug.3
  Time: 1:30 PM -1:40 PM
  Author: Alexandru Maries, University of Pittsburgh
  Co-Author(s): None
  Abstract: Drawing appropriate diagrams is a useful problem solving heuristic that can transform the problem into a representation that is easier to exploit for solving the problem. A major focus while helping introductory physics students learn problem solving is to help them appreciate that drawing diagrams facilitates further problem solution. We conducted an investigation in which approximately 120 students in an algebra-based introductory physics course were subjected to three different interventions during the problem solving in recitation quizzes throughout the semester. They were either asked to solve problems in which the diagrams were drawn for them or they were explicitly told to draw a diagram or they were not given any instruction regarding diagrams. We developed a rubric to score problem solving performance of students in different intervention groups. We will present our findings including some surprising results for problems which involve final/initial situations. This work is supported by NSF.
  Footnotes: None
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