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2010 Summer Meeting

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

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Does Reading Physics Textbooks Help Resolve the Contradictions?
  Location: HC 3040
  Date: Wednesday, Aug.3
  Time: 1:40 PM -1:50 PM
  Author: Sevda Yerdelen-Damar
University Of Maryland - College Park
  Co-Author(s): None
  Abstract: Students' intuitive knowledge about physical phenomena influences their learning. However, inappropriately activated intuitive knowledge leads to contradictions with formal physics knowledge. This study explored whether students become aware of those contradictions when reading textbooks. Firstly, 36 tenth grade students responded to a questionnaire designed to activate their intuitive knowledge about the relation between force and velocity. Specifically, students were asked to compare, intuitively, the magnitude of the push force and friction force exerted on a cup moving at steady speed. 29 students answered the push force should be greater than the frictional force. Secondly, the students read textbook pages explaining explicitly that the net force exerted on an object moving at constant velocity must be zero. Finally, they answered whether they felt any inconsistency between their intuitive knowledge and what they read. Only five students reported they felt contradiction. This result indicates that simply reading the textbook does not guarantee that they will realize the inconsistencies between everyday thinking and formal physics knowledge.
  Footnotes: None
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