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2010 Summer Meeting

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

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The Relationship between Students' Mental Representations and their Translational Skills
  Location: SS Ballroom ABC
  Date: Wednesday, Aug.3
  Time: 1:20 PM -1:30 PM
  Author: Bashirah Ibrahim, Kansas State University
  Co-Author(s): N. Sanjay Rebello
  Abstract: We report on the relationship between students' categories of mental representations and their handling of multiple external representations. It is assumed that the inability to relate and translate information across different representations is governed by the kinds of internal constructs that students operate with. A sample of 19 participants from a calculus-based physics engineering course completed 13 tasks (non-directed and directed) on kinematics, work, and energy. Individual interviews were conducted with the students immediately following the completion of these tasks. Profiles were designed based on the students' actions when solving the problems together with their interview responses. The Johnson-Laird (1983) cognitive framework was used to categorize the students' internal constructs and statistical analysis was performed to determine whether or not a link exists with the ability to translate information across representations. The consequences of this work for the teaching and learning of physics at introductory level will be discussed. Supported in part by NSF grant 0816207.
  Footnotes: None
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