AAPT_WM14program_final - page 47

January 4–7, 2014
effectively teach a subject (Ball, Thames and Phelps, 2008). Originally
conceptualized in the subject of mathematics, our work is centered
on CKT for physics, specifically in the area of energy. In developing
the framework for CKT for teaching energy, we have identified the as-
pects and tasks of teaching physics, and more specifically, of teaching
energy, that are needed for effective instruction. This talk will discuss
the development of the tasks of teaching and demonstrate how these
tasks are enacted in the classroom during instruction using video col-
lected from a group of teachers during the teaching of energy.
5:30-5:40 p.m. Misconceptions in Wave
Propagation and the Principle of Superposition: A
Short Study of High School Level Understanding
Contributed – Layla M. Quinones, New York University, New York, NY
This study evaluates and analyzes misconceptions that high school
students have regarding wave propagation, transmission, and the
principle of superposition. Two groups of students in an inner-city
high school were given surveys that sought to identify common
misconceptions in wave-physics: a group of juniors who were learn-
ing about waves at the time the surveys were given, and a group of
seniors who had previous instruction in introductory physics. Surveys
consisted of open-response questions that presented basic concepts in
wave propagation and superposition for both mechanical and sound
waves. Results show that the most common misconceptions for both
groups are in the transmission and superposition of waves. Miscon-
ceptions where characterized using the wave and object-like models
described in the literature.
1. M.C. Wittmann, “The object coordination class applied to wavepulses: Ana-
lysing student reasoning in wave physics,”
Int. J. of Sci. Educ.
, 97-118 (2002).
5:40-5:50 p.m. Pre-High School Students’
Understandings and Representations of Electric Field
Contributed – Ying Cao, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155;
This study investigated Chinese pre-high school students’ (aged
15-16) understanding and representations of electric field when they
were engaged in informal tasks as a group in class, playing a web-
based electric hockey game and drawing comic strips about charged
bodies as characters. The literature has reported high school and
college students’ performance after instruction by having them do
textbook style questionnaires and have primarily focused on students’
learning difficulties. This study focused on students’ understanding
prior to formal instruction and emphasized their strengths rather
than weaknesses. I conducted post-class face-to-face interviews with
three students, during which they were asked to explain their work in
more detail. The results show that even before any formal instruction,
pre-high school students possess rich ideas of electric field, and are
able to produce representations that express features of electric field.
5:50-6 p.m. Characterizing Student-Educator
Interactions in an After-School Physics Program
Contributed – Peter Madigan,* University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
Kathleen Hinko, Noah Finkelstein, University of Colorado Boulder
In order to study how undergraduate and graduate physics students
approach teaching in an informal setting, we analyze their student-
educator interactions as volunteers in an after-school physics program
for children in grades K-8. We have collected in situ video footage of
several university volunteers using hands-on, inquiry-based activities
with students throughout the semester. Through qualitative analysis
of the university educators’ communication and children’s affective re-
sponse during these interactions, we are able to classify and compare
different educators’ approaches to teaching and learning. Additionally,
we start to examine children’s learning outcomes with these varied
approaches through interviews with children and analysis of their
science notebooks.
*Sponsored by Kathleen Hinko
Session BC: Recruiting and
Retaining Physics Students
Location: Salon 10
Sponsor: Committee on Women in Physics
Co-Sponsor: Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education
Date: Sunday, January 5
Time: 4:30–6 p.m.
Presider: Kathleen Falconer
4:30-5 p.m. The Next Steps in Developing Inclusive
Physics Departments
Invited – Juan Burciaga, Mount Holyoke College, Department of Phys-
ics, South Hadley, MA 01075-1424;
Many departments operate under the assumptions that the key to
developing inclusive departments is to focus on strategic recruiting.
That somehow getting students from under-represented groups to
enter the department was by itself a sufficient development to catalyze
wide-spread change. But recruiting is just one step, and may not even
be the first step, in developing a department that is diverse ... inclusive
... and excellent. But what are the steps that will allow a department
to keep momentum moving toward a diverse, inclusive and engaged
community of students and faculty? And how does such a commu-
nity help promote and develop an atmosphere of excellence in the
students? ...in the faculty? ... and in the department?
5-5:30 p.m. Establishing a Path to Mathematiza-
tion for All Introductory Physics Students*
Invited – Suzanne Brahmia, Rutgers University, Department of Physics
and Astronomy, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8019;
Sensemaking in physics involves translating non-mathematical un-
derstanding into conceptualized mathematics, and formal mathemati-
cal statements into narrative explanations. These processes, referred
to as mathematization, have been studied in mid- to upper-level
undergraduate physics courses (1,2). Successful students actively
generate mathematical relationships to describe physical situations.
This understanding becomes integral to their physics knowledge. As
part of a collaboration between Rutgers, WWU and NMSU, we target
the much larger population of high school and college students in
introductory physics, developing curricular materials and methods in
which students generate mathematically sensible explanations. We’re
also developing assessments of mathematical reasoning that is ex-
pected in a physics course. Unlike the successful upper-level students,
these students tend to view math in physics as a process of memoriz-
ing and mastering algorithms. Socioeconomically disadvantaged
school districts often have weak mathematics programs in the middle
and secondary levels, so our findings may be particularly beneficial
for these students.
*This work is supported by NSF DUE-1045227, NSF DUE-1045231, NSF DUE-
1.T. J. Bing and E. F. Redish, “Analyzing problem solving using math in physics:
Epistemological framing via warrants,”
Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.
, 020108
2. B.L. Sherin, “How students understand physics equations,”
Cognition and
, 479-541 (2001).
5:30-6 p.m. Facilitating Undergraduate Community
at Florida International University*
Invited – Laird Kramer, Florida International University, Department of
Physics, Miami, FL 33199;
Florida International University’s (FIU’s) Physics Department has
transformed its undergraduate program over the past 13 years, lead-
ing to a 2,300% increase in the number of intended and declared
majors as well as a 900% increase in the number of graduates
(comparing current three-year averages to the early 1990s). FIU’s
undergraduate enrollment increased by 104% in the same period. To
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