AAPT_WM14program_final - page 85

January 4–7, 2014
Tuesday Morning
9:40-9:50 a.m. Using Mobile Devices in an Online
Physics Laboratory
Contributed – Kendra J. Sibbernsen, Metropolitan Community College,
Omaha, NE 68103;
A pilot class of the first semester of algebra-based physics lecture and
laboratory was offered completely online at MCC in the fall term of
this year. The laboratories used inquiry-based activities that focused
on getting students to ask their own scientific research questions, take
the data to answer those questions, analyze that data, and then draw
conclusions. Students were encouraged to use the sensors in their
own smart phones or tablets, such as the video camera for measuring
motion, the accelerometer to measure acceleration, the microphone
for measuring frequencies, and more. A report will be given on the
successes and challenges of offering a physics class in this format.
9:50-10 a.m. Teaching Physics Labs at a Distance
Contributed – Andreas Veh Kenai, Peninsula College, Soldotna, AK
The presenter has been developing an at-home physics lab manual for
a college introductory physics lab. This talk covers: a comparison to
published lab manual(s); the preparation for at-home labs; the suc-
cesses and challenges of at-home labs.
Session FH: PER: Student
Reasoning and Problem Solving
Location: Salon 5
Sponsor: AAPT
Date: Tuesday, January 7
Time: 8:30–9:50 a.m.
Presider: Kathy Harper
8:30-8:40 a.m. Learner Intuitions about Thermal
Energy and Dispersal*
Contributed – Abigail R. Daane, Seattle Pacific University, West Seattle,
WA 98115-3755;
Sarah B. McKagan
Stamatis Vokos, Rachel E. Scherr, Seattle Pacific University
In most energy scenarios, thermal energy is produced and dissipated.
For example, when a ball rolls to a stop, kinetic energy transforms into
thermal energy that spreads into the environment. The ball’s movement
is a perceptible indicator of the presence of kinetic energy. The thermal
energy, however, is likely to be imperceptible, and as the ball slows,
the decrease of a perceptible indicator can seem to suggest a violation
of the principle of energy conservation. We present data of teachers-
as-learners working to identify evidence of energy which has lost its
perceptible indicators. We argue that mechanisms of energy transfor-
mation constitute evidence of imperceptible energy for learners.
*This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Founda-
tion under Grant Nos. 0822342 and 1222732.
FH02: 8:40-8:50 a.m. Characterizing Students’ Use of
Models During Experimentation
Contributed – Benjamin M. Zwickl, Rochester Institute of Technology,
Rochester, NY 14623-5603;
H. J. Lewandowski, Noah Finkelstein, University of Colorado Boulder
Models are simplified and abstract representations of real-world
phenomena that are used for creating and communicating scientific
explanations. In this study we analyze students’ use of models in a
30-minute think-aloud lab activity involving basic electronic and
optical components. The framework used for our fine-grained analysis
of modeling during experimentation was developed independently
in the context of curriculum development for upper-division physics
laboratories. We review general patterns in students’ use of mod-
els, describe our coding scheme, and conclude with a discussion of
implications for the design of modeling-focused lab activities and
lab-appropriate assessments.
8:50-9 a.m. Do Visual-Spatial Abilities Impact
Student Performance on Wave Tasks?
Contributed – Alexandra Lau, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA
Mila Kryjevskaia, North Dakota State University
The wave phenomena typically discussed in introductory physics
courses form the foundation for more advanced physics topics such
as electrodynamics and quantum mechanics. However, it has been
found that many students experience significant difficulties when they
attempt to express a distance in terms of the wavelength of a periodic
wave. The ability to perform such a basic task correctly is essential for
understanding interference and diffraction phenomena. We hypoth-
esized that the poor student performance on this type of task may
stem from difficulties with visualizing the situation and reasoning
spatially. We administered the Paper Folding Test (PFT) in order to
assess students’ visual-spatial skills. Then, we probed the relationship
between these skills and student performance on tasks in the context
of water waves. We have identified consistent and statistically signifi-
cant differences in PFT scores between students who complete basic
wave tasks correctly and those students who do not.
9-9:10 a.m. Influence of Visual Cueing and
Correctness Feedback on Students’ Reasoning*
Contributed – Amy S. Rouinfar, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Elise Agra, Jeffrey Murray, Xian Wu, N. Sanjay Rebello, Kansas State
Research has demonstrated that using visual cues to focus students’
attention on relevant areas in diagrams and animations can increase
comprehension and facilitate problem solving. In this study we
investigate the effectiveness of visual cues and correctness feedback
in conceptual physics problems containing a diagram with respect
to comprehension and transfer of physics concepts. Students (N=90)
enrolled in an introductory mechanics course were individually inter-
viewed. During each interview students worked through four sets of
problems containing a diagram. Each problem set contained an initial
problem, six isomorphic training problems, and a transfer problem.
Answers and explanations were given verbally. Students in the cued
conditions saw visual cues on the training problems, and those in
the feedback conditions were told if their responses were correct or
incorrect. We discuss the influence of both cueing and feedback on
students’ reasoning.
*This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under grants
1138697 and 0841414. Sponsored by N. Sanjay Rebello.
9:10-9:20 a.m. The Role of Heuristic-analytic Theory
in Probing Student Metacognition*
Contributed – Mila Kryjevskaia, North Dakota State University, Depart-
ment of Physics, Fargo, ND 58108-6050;
MacKenzie R. Stetzer, University of Maine
It is commonly expected that, after instruction, students will con-
sciously and systematically construct reasoning chains that start from
established scientific principles and lead to well-justified predictions.
Poor student performance on exams is often attributed to a lack
of understanding or an inability to construct inferential reason-
ing chains. Psychological research, however, seems to indicate that
thinking processes often follow paths that are strikingly different
from those outlined above. The extended heuristic-analytic theory of
thinking and reasoning suggests that two types of cognitive processes
are involved in building inferences: heuristic and analytical. Some re-
searchers argue that metacognition mediates the connection between
the two. In this talk, we will illustrate the applicability of this theory to
student performance on written questions and describe the theory’s
relevance to efforts to probe student metacognitive abilities.
*This work has been supported in part by the National Science Foundation
under Grant Nos. DUE-1245999, DUE-1245313, and DUE-0962805.
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