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Scaffolding students' application of the 'area under a curve' concept in physics problems Documents

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Scaffolding students' application of the 'area under a curve' concept in physics problems 

written by Dehui Hu, Joshua Von Korff, and N. Sanjay Rebello

We carried out several experiments in which we used sequences of physics problems to investigate students' ability to apply calculus concepts in physics problems. In this paper, we discuss an experiment which focused specifically on the concept of "area under a curve". We organized group problem solving sessions to teach students the concept of area under a curve using our problem sequences. We combined both a paper-based test and a computer-based test with online hints to assess students' ability to transfer their learning to solve new physics problems. We found that students' strategies for solving physics problems using this concept largely depend on problem type and scenario. Students' prior knowledge of area under a curve from calculus could interfere with their ability to learn a coherent model of using this concept in physics contexts.

Published February 6, 2012
Last Modified April 24, 2012

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