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

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Students Reconciling Contradictory Commitments in Damped Harmonic Motion Problems
  Location: KFC Courts
  Date: Tuesday, Aug.2
  Time: 5:15 PM -6:00 PM
  Author: Adam Kaczynski, The University of Maine
  Co-Author(s): Michael C. Wittmann
  Abstract: In intermediate and advanced physics courses, students are expected to use mathematical, graphical, and physical reasoning, as well as their intuitions. These intuitions may contradict each other and can be inconsistent with ideas developed during small group learning activities. On the topic of damped harmonic motion, students have intuitions about the mathematics, the physics, and the way the graph of the motion should look. Students remain committed to some of these intuitions to the point of not using provided instructional resources. They also deal with contradictions when their commitments to one kind of reasoning conflict with their commitments to another (e.g., the analysis of a mathematical derivation conflicts with that of a free-body diagram summarizing physical reasoning). These multiple commitments have an effect on students' classroom discussion and the way that students reconcile contradictory commitments and conclusions.
  Footnotes: None
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