AAPT Abstract Archive

Abstract Information

  Session: PER: Examining Content Understanding and Reasoning - B
  Paper Type: Contributed
  Title: Improving Understanding of Gauss's Law by Replacing Examples with Reasoning
  Meeting: 2016 Summer Meeting: Sacremento, California
  Location: N/A
  Time: 9:50AM
  Author: Marshall J. Styczinski, University of Washington
(775) 830-4807, mjstyczi@uw.edu
  Co-Author(s): Peter Shaffer, Paula Heron, Aziz Khan, Ryan Hazelton
  Abstract: Gauss’s law is a fixture in introductory physics classes in part because the reasoning skills and fundamental physics knowledge required for its application represent important course goals. We have found that students struggle to apply Gauss’s law to conceptual questions as well as typical end-of-chapter problems, even after coverage in lecture and the relevant sections of Tutorials in Introductory Physics(1). To address persistent difficulties we are modifying tutorial curriculum to reduce the number of examples and emphasize the development of a conceptual framework around flux and Gauss’s law. The goal is to improve student performance on both conceptual questions and typical calculation questions. A summary of the student difficulties uncovered, details of modifications to the established curriculum, and preliminary results will be presented.
  Footnotes: (1) McDermott, Shaffer, and the UWPEG (2012). Tutorials in Introductory Physics. Pearson Learning Solutions. * This material is based upon work supported by NSF Grant No. DUE-1022449.
  Presentation: AAPTSM16_StyczinskiM_presentation.pdf

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