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


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Sessions and Events w/Abstracts

Date: Wednesday, August 03

 

Total Number of Records Found: 10

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GH:   

PER: Problem Solving II
  Location: SS Ballroom ABC
  Date: Wednesday, Aug.03
  Time: 1:00PM - 2:30PM
  Presider: Andrew Heckler,
  Co-Presiders(s): None
  Equipment: N/A
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GH01:   

Investigating Patterns in Response Times to Graph Questions
  Location: SS Ballroom ABC
  Date: Wednesday, Aug.03
  Time: 1:00PM - 1:10PM
  Author: Andrew F. Heckler, Ohio State University
6149408003, heckler.6@osu.edu
  Co-Author(s): Thomas M. Scaife
  Abstract: We investigate patterns in response times as well as response choices to simple multiple-choice questions. In a series of experiments involving questions on graphs in which participants must compare the slopes of two points, we not only found (as expected) that many students consistently answered incorrectly, namely comparing heights rather than the slopes, but we also found that these students responded more rapidly than those answering correctly. Furthermore, by imposing a delay in responding of a few seconds, we found a reduction in incorrect responses, suggesting that many students were capable of answering correctly, but instead they tended to answer quickly. Repetitive training increases accuracy, and this may in part be due to a decrease in processing time of the relevant dimension, i.e. slope. However, providing students with an explicit rule also increases accuracy, but does not appear to change the time to process the correct response.
  Footnotes: None
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GH02:   

Rigging Your Card Games -- Re-examining Expert Categorizations of Physics Problems
  Location: SS Ballroom ABC
  Date: Wednesday, Aug.03
  Time: 1:10PM - 1:20PM
  Author: Steven F. Wolf, Michigan State University
586-484-3661, wolfste4@msu.edu
  Co-Author(s): Gerd Kortemeyer
  Abstract: On its 30th anniversary, we are re-examining the seminal paper by Chi et al., which firmly established the notion that novices categorize physics problems by "surface features" (e.g. "incline," "pendulum," "projectile motion," ...), while experts use "deep structure" (e.g., "energy conservation," "Newton 2," ...). The paper has been cited more than 3000 times in scholarly articles over a wide range of disciplines. Yet, some details of the original research design of this card-sorting experiment and its analysis methods are not clear. In replicating the study, particularly the choice of problems seems to strongly influence the outcome; only a carefully "rigged" problem set will have a good signal-to-noise ratio. We replicated the experiment with an expert group, using a large set of problems, and noted the degree to which different specific subsets of problems lead to more or less clear-cut results.
  Footnotes: None
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GH03:   

The Relationship between Students' Mental Representations and their Translational Skills
  Location: SS Ballroom ABC
  Date: Wednesday, Aug.03
  Time: 1:20PM - 1:30PM
  Author: Bashirah Ibrahim, Kansas State University
(785)3237794, bibrahim@phys.ksu.edu
  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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GH04:   

Visual Cueing Influencing Eye Movements and Reasoning in Physics Problems
  Location: SS Ballroom ABC
  Date: Wednesday, Aug.03
  Time: 1:30PM - 1:40PM
  Author: Adrian M. Madsen, Kansas State University
785-532-1612, adrianc@phys.ksu.edu
  Co-Author(s): Adam Larson, Lester Loschky, N. Sanjay Rebello
  Abstract: Visual cues overlaid on diagrams and animations can reduce cognitive load by drawing attention to relevant areas. Additionally, cues can increase speed and accuracy by causing learners to view a diagram in a pattern related to a problem's solution. We investigate the effects of visual cueing on students' eye movements and reasoning on introductory physics problems with a diagram. Students in the treatment group were shown an initial problem, and if they answered that incorrectly, they were shown a series of problems each with moving shapes cueing the correct solution. Students in the control group were also provided a series of problems, but without any visual cues. Students in both groups were asked to verbally explain their reasoning after each question, and were provided a transfer problem without cues at the end. We report on students' eye movements while answering the questions and verbal reasoning for their answers.
  Footnotes: None
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GH05:   

A Bi-directional Mapping of Faculty Perceptions with a Problem Solving Rubric
  Location: SS Ballroom ABC
  Date: Wednesday, Aug.03
  Time: 1:40PM - 1:50PM
  Author: Brita L. Nellermoe
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; University of St. Thomas
612-625-9323, nell0021@umn.edu
  Co-Author(s): Andrew J. Mason, Kenneth J Heller
  Abstract: We examine a categorization of written problem solving artifacts generated by interviews of 30 faculty members at institutions from a variety of higher education institutions in the Midwestern U.S. (Yerushalmi et al. 2007, Henderson et al. 2007). We determine how these categories map to dimensions of a rubric designed for analysis of student problem solutions (Docktor 2009). This mapping examines both the relationship of the rubric to the categories and the categories to the rubric. The results suggest that the rubric dimensions for student problem solutions designed by Docktor emerge naturally from faculty perceptions. References: J. Docktor (2009). "Development and Validation of a Physics Problem-Solving Assessment Rubric." Dissertation, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN. E. Yerushalmi, C. Henderson, K. Heller, P. Heller, and V. Kuo (2007). Phys. Rev. Special Topics-PER 3(2), 020109. C. Henderson, E.Yerushalmi, K. Heller, P. Heller, and V. Kuo (2007). Phys. Rev. Special Topics-PER 3(2), 020110.
  Footnotes: None
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GH06:   

Using Analogical Problem Solving to Learn about Friction
  Location: SS Ballroom ABC
  Date: Wednesday, Aug.03
  Time: 1:50PM - 2:00PM
  Author: Chandralekha Singh, University of Pittsburgh
412-624-9045, clsingh@pitt.edu
  Co-Author(s): Shih-Yin Lin
  Abstract: Research suggests many students have the notion that the magnitude of the static frictional force is always equal to its maximum value. In this study, we examine introductory students' ability to perform analogical problem solving between two problems that are similar in the application of a physics principle (Newton's second law) but one problem involves friction which often triggers the misleading notion that is not applicable in that particular case. Students from algebra- and calculus- based introductory physics courses were asked in a quiz to take advantage of what they learned from a solved problem provided, which was about tension in a rope, to solve another problem involving friction. To help students process through the analogy deeply and contemplate the applicability of associating the frictional force with its maximum value, students in different recitation classrooms received different scaffolding. Students' performances in different groups are compared. Supported by NSF.
  Footnotes: None
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GH07:   

Enhancing the Problem Solving Abilities of Science Students
  Location: SS Ballroom ABC
  Date: Wednesday, Aug.03
  Time: 2:00PM - 2:10PM
  Author: Olga A. Stafford, South Dakota State University
605-688-4293, Olga.Stafford@sdstate.edu
  Co-Author(s): None
  Abstract: It is evident from my own teaching experience, and supported by many instructors’ opinions [1-3], that students aren’t equipped with logical problem-solving techniques. I am studying the impact on student learning of using problem-solving sheets during recitation classes, with students working in groups and playing specific roles. I anticipate that successful use of problem-solving sheets will help students develop the necessary skills to solve science problems with conceptual understanding. 1. Polya, How t Solve It (Princeton University Press, 1945) 2. Edit Yerushalmi etc".Instructors' reasons for choosing problem features in a calculus-based introductory physics course," Phys. Rev. Phys. Ed. Research 6, 020108 (2010) 3. Johnson, Johnson & Smit, "Active learning: cooperation in the classroom," Interaction Book Company 1998
  Footnotes: None
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GH08:   

Students' Epistemological Beliefs vis-à-vis Problem Solving Sophistication in M&I Physics
  Location: SS Ballroom ABC
  Date: Wednesday, Aug.03
  Time: 2:10PM - 2:20PM
  Author: Wendi N. Wampler, Purdue University
3179971816, wamplerw@purdue.edu
  Co-Author(s): Lynn A. Bryan, Mark P Haugan
  Abstract: In this study, we investigated the relationship between students' personal epistemological beliefs and problem solving sophistication within the context of a large-scale implementation of the M&I Curriculum. We utilized a mixed methods approach to follow the progress of nine student volunteers from the introductory mechanics course at Purdue University. The quantitative component used the CLASS survey to examine the epistemological beliefs of students over the semester. The qualitative component examined students' problem solving within the context of small group work, as well as epistemological beliefs in the context of the post recitation interviews. Results showed three major trends: a decrease in sophistication of both problem solving and epistemological beliefs, a high level of sophistication of both with little change throughout the semester, and increase in both epistemological beliefs and problem solving. The implications will help us better understand the importance of epistemological beliefs and their influence on students' problem solving.
  Footnotes: None
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GH09:   

Assessing Student's Ability to Solve Textbook-Style Problems
  Location: SS Ballroom ABC
  Date: Wednesday, Aug.03
  Time: 2:20PM - 2:30PM
  Author: Jeffrey Marx, McDaniel College
4103864619, jmarx@mcdaniel.edu
  Co-Author(s): Karen Cummings
  Abstract: Development of student' problem solving ability is commonly cited as one of the primary goals in introductory physics courses. However, there is no broadly agreed upon definition of what is meant by "problem solving". Most physicists ultimate want students to be able to successfully apply a logical yet flexible approach to solving real world problems significantly different from any they have seen before. Still, many introductory instructors are first and foremost concerned with how successfully and thoughtfully students solve standard textbook‑style problems. We have developed a 13‑item survey to help assess students' abilities at solving textbook‑style problems. In the Fall semesters of 2009 and 2010, we beta‑tested this instrument on introductory physics students (pre‑instruction and post‑instruction) at several institutes and on a pool of "experts." In this talk, we will present details of the survey instrument, its administration, and some results from our beta testing.
  Footnotes: None
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