program_wb_i - page 60

Monday afternoon
problems and later posed a transfer problem. Our results provide insights
into students’ activation of their resources and the procedures they used to
construct their reasoning in response to the training problems.
*This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. 1138697 and 1348857.
2:20-2:30 p.m. Developing Expertise Beyond Concep-
tual Understanding Through Deliberate Practice
Contributed – Zhongzhou Chen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77
Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139;
Pritchard David, MIT
Achieving physics expertise requires various expert skills beyond concep-
tual understanding, such as mapping between different representations,
or devising a qualitative overall plan. Research have shown that the most
effective method to develop expertise in any field is through “deliberate
practice”: carefully designed repetitive practice focused on a specific expert
skill. However, most traditional back of the textbook problems are poor
candidates of deliberate practice activities, as they often require multiple
skills to solve. We will briefly introduce our initial attempts of developing
“deliberate practice problems” for introductory mechanics. These highly
focused problems are carefully designed to train one aspect of expert skill
at a time, utilizing the new “Drag and drop” format of the edX platform to
reduce extraneous cognitive load. We will show a couple of example prob-
lems, and also report the initial response from students when we deploy
those problems in a flipped classroom.
2:30-2:40 p.m. Analyzing Resources Used by Expert
Physicists While Reasoning Towards Understanding
Contributed – Darrick C. Jones, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey,
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8019;
AJ Richards, Eugenia Etkina Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Gorazd Planinsic, University of Ljubljana
One important goal for physics education is to help students develop
reasoning patterns similar to those of physicists. But what does a physicist
actually do that enables her/him to successfully understand and solve
challenging, novel problems? To answer this question we performed fine-
grained discourse analysis on video recordings of physics experts attempt-
ing to solve novel problems using the framework of resources. We focused
on episodes during the problem solving process when experts reasoned
towards a deeper understanding of the phenomenon they were observing.
By searching for patterns across many episodes, we identified candidate
resources with epistemological underpinnings, which help experts when
they are making conceptual breakthroughs when solving novel problems.
We discuss the frequency with which resource candidates were used by
experts and the instructional implications of these findings.
2:40-2:50 p.m. Skipping the First Step: Physical
Process Understanding in Problem Solving
Contributed – Katherine Ansell, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
Urbana, IL 61801;
Mats Selen, Timothy Stelzer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Multiple-choice tests are commonly used in large introductoryphysics
courses, but the format provides limited information about specific student
weaknesses in problem solving. We seek to identify and characterize the
role of physical process understanding in a multiple-choice format. To do
this, we have written a collection of questions designed to assess students’
understanding of the physical processes that occur in given scenarios.
These questions were given to students in an introductory calculus-based
mechanics course in a review context for each of the major examinations
in the course. We have compared student performance on these questions
to student performance in examinations and will discuss what these results
reveal about this specific type of understanding in problem solving.
2:50-3 p.m. Mathematics Skills in Physics Problem
Contributed – Jing Wang, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY 40475;
Jerry Cook, Eastern Kentucky University
Andrew Boggs, Madison Central High School, Richmond, KY
Students’ mathematical skill level is often considered a good indicator of
their success in introductory physics courses. It is a common expectation
that students who meet the prerequisite requirement will be well-prepared;
however, this is rarely the case. In a recent study at the Department of
Physics and Astronomy of Eastern Kentucky University, a math diagnostic
test is given pre-instruction in an algebra-based physics course to evalu-
ate their math skills. We then interviewed six students who were on the
borderline in the entrance math diagnostic test. To investigate their physics
problem solving skills, we gave them questions that included both math-
intensive questions and context rich problems. The connection between
students’ mathematical skills and their physics problem-solving skills is
discussed in detail.
3-3:10 p.m. Grading Problem-solving Items Using
Rubrics in Large Groups
Contributed – David Menard, Polytechnique Montreal, 2500 Chemin de Poly-
technique, Montreal, QC H3T 1J4 Canada;
Maxim Morin, University of Montreal
Thomas Gervais, Polytechnique Montreal
Assessment of problem-solving skills often poses some challenges in sci-
ence programs. In particular, in large groups, for which several raters are
involved, the question of the validity and reliability of the grading process
can be legitimately challenged. A common approach to grading is to
exploit a scoring scheme into which partial credits are attributed to distinct
steps of the solution and points are deduced for errors. In the present work,
two studies have been conducted to investigate whether the alternative use
of rubrics may improve the grading process. The first was concerned with
determining whether or not the rubrics developed for a class of freshman
mechanics improve the scoring when compared to the traditional method.
The second study used a revised version of the rubrics to verify the hy-
pothesis that, with proper training, grading problem-solving using rubrics
increases grading speed, agreement between graders and overall transpar-
ency of the grading process.
Session BC: Creating Research-like
Experiences for All Students II
Location: Tate Lab 170
Sponsor: Committee on Apparatus
Date: Monday, July 28
Time: 1:30–2:50 p.m.
Presider: Ben Zwicki
1:30-1:40 p.m. The S-Lab: Research Experiences for All
Contributed – Stephen Mecca, Providence College, Dept. of Engineering-
Physics-Systems, Providence, RI 02908;
The S-Lab (as it has been recently named) has been operating in its cur-
rent state for over a decade in the Department of Engineering-Physics-
Systems at Providence College creating and managing meaningful research
experiences for many students both in the sciences and in other academic
departments. This paper outlines the approach used in the lab, the student
commitment, the physical and software tools (that include a recent imple-
mentation of lab archives), as well as some of the recent projects that have
been undertaken. The lab experience for students has been significant. The
impacts of S-Labs projects around the world especially in water, sanitation
and education will be highlighted.
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