program_wb_i - page 99

July 26–30, 2014
Tuesday morning
9-9:30 a.m. An Optical Outreach Kit for School and
Community Outreach
Invited – Justin Spencer, The Bakken Museum, 3537 Zenith Ave., Minneapo-
lis, MN 55416;
Steven Walvig, The Bakken Museum
Martin Wolk, 3M Corporation
We present a collaborative effort between 3M and The Bakken Museum to
create a science encouragement kit for the 3M Visiting Wizards program.
The program is part of a long 3M tradition that provides teaching materials
and training to employees for science outreach in schools, science fairs,
and other public venues. The kit was designed to teach a few fundamental
principles of classical optics through the history of the camera obscura.
Camera obscuras have been used for centuries as a means of projecting an
image of the real world onto a surface, usually a canvas, so that it may be
copied or studied. The use of the device in the paintings of Vermeer and
other painters (the “Hockney-Falco Thesis”) is a hotly debated topic that
is woven into the kit. As one of a few dozen kits created and used by 3M
employees, this portable kit includes a collapsible black tent (the camera),
a variable aperture and lens assembly (the pinhole and lens), an efficient
collimated LED light source, and retroreflective garments, graphics, and
eyeglasses. A laser pointer on a gimbal is used as an auxiliary part of the kit
to teach the principle of image inversion in pinhole optics.
Session DG: PER: Evaluating
Instructional Strategies I
Location: STSS 220
Sponsor: AAPT
Date: Tuesday, July 29
Time: 8–9:50 a.m.
Presider: Mila Kryjevskaia
8-8:10 a.m. How Should We Teach Conceptual
Understanding of Force and Motion?
Contributed – Daniel R. White, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Ryan C. Badeau, Andrew Heckler, The Ohio State University
We examine the effects of training examples on student responses to
questions about the relationships between the directions of net force,
velocity, and acceleration in one-dimension. Six training conditions were
constructed, each dealing exclusively with one combination of net force,
velocity, and acceleration (e.g., “given a velocity in this direction, what can
you say about the acceleration”?) in a variety of contexts and added to a
control condition (no training). While we find that acceleration-velocity
and net force-velocity trainings led to the highest overall scores, we also
find complex but robust interactions between training and test question
types, consistent with hierarchies of student understanding of force and
motion in previous works. Based on the empirical data we gathered, we
build mathematical models of these hierarchies. We then use those models
to predict which combinations of training are most effective, which is in
turn suggestive of instructional strategies.
8:10-8:20 a.m. Using a Natural Language Computer
Tutor for Force and Motion
Contributed – Ryan C. Badeau, The Ohio State University, Department of
Physics, Columbus, OH 43210-1168;
Daniel R. White, Andrew F. Heckler, The Ohio State University
Force, velocity, and acceleration represent an interesting set of related
physics concepts in that they are foundational, well-documented and a
persistent source of student difficulty even after instruction. As such, this
set of related concepts provides a unique conceptual space in which to
explore the effects of different question formats and their role in targeting
persistent student difficulties during computer-based training and instruc-
tion. By prompting students to respond to questions in natural language
and subsequently providing immediate question specific feedback, we
explore the potential benefit of natural language for targeting specific
and persistent difficulties like the assumption of a force in the direction
of motion. We report on the design and construction of a simple natural
language computer tutor for concepts in one-dimensional force and
motion and investigate the relative effectiveness of the natural language
question and feedback format versus traditional multiple choice questions
and responses.
8:20-8:30 a.m. Effects of Computer Simulations on
Learning in Undergraduate Physics
Contributed – Eric Marshall, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY 10996-
Tyler Jones, U.S. Military Academy
Web-based computer simulations (sims) are widely used as teaching tools
in the physics education community, though few controlled studies attest
to if and how the sims actually contribute to learning. This paper describes
a comprehensive experiment where several class sections of undergraduate
students demonstrate highly significant achievement in mental model for-
mation and long-term recall after working with sims. Four physics topics
are targeted in a core undergraduate Physics I course at the U.S. Military
Academy. Prominent student misconceptions in these topics are identified,
and useful computer simulations for covering these topics are described
in detail. The learning metrics of correct mental models and long-term
recall are assessed quantitatively with a large control group, and qualitative
student feedback is also provided. Possible causation of sims’ success rate
is explored and limitations of both this study, and sims’ contribution to
learning are noted.
8:30-8:40 a.m. Learning Outcomes in a “Physics for
Humanities Course”
Contributed – Deepak Iyer, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802;
Mary Emenike, Rutgers University
We present the results of two surveys carried out on a “Physics for
Humanities” class of about a hundred students. The Colorado Learning
Attitudes about Science Survey (CLASS) is used to measure the shift in
attitudes via a pre- and post-test carried out in the second installation
of this class. Post-test data from the first installation of the course is also
presented. The second survey is course specific and seeks to correlate
aspects of the CLASS survey with student feedback about the pedagogical
approaches used in the course. We seek to understand the efficacy of the
various pedagogical tools used in achieving the learning goals. Further, the
outcomes could potentially inform future versions of this class, and add to
the data about physics courses for non-science majors.
8:40-8:50 a.m. Nonscience Students Developing the
Particle View of Ionizing Radiation*
Contributed – Andy P. Johnson, Black Hills State University, Spearfish, SD
Anna Hafele, Ryan Anderson, BHSU
The Inquiry into Radioactivity (IiR) project is developing course materials
for radiation literacy. Student thinking about what constitutes ionizing
radiation is a major learning difficulty. Most people use “radiation” and
“radioactive” interchangeably, and talk of ionizing radiation as “bad stuff”
that can transfer to other objects, making them radioactive. These matter-
like ideas persist and interfere with the particle view. This paper reports
on a longitudinal study of student thinking. Some students accepted the
particle view after investigations with Geiger counters, but others did not
adopt the particle view until grappling with atoms and with ionization by
alpha, beta, and gamma particles. Thus we reluctantly conclude that brief
or incomplete efforts to teach radiation to non-science learners will fail to
incite the substantial ontological shift that is essential to understanding
radiation as particles.
*This work is supported by National Science Foundation grant DUE 0942699.
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