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Scaffolding students’ understanding of force in pulley systems Documents

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Scaffolding students’ understanding of force in pulley systems 

written by Amy Rouinfar, Adrian M. Madsen, Tram Do Ngoc Hoang, Sadhana Puntambekar, and N. Sanjay Rebello

Recent research results have found that students using virtual manipulatives perform as well or better on measures of conceptual understanding than their peers who used physical equipment. We report on a study with students in a conceptual physics laboratory using either physical or virtual manipulatives to investigate forces in pulley systems. Written materials guided students through a sequence of activities designed to scaffold their understanding of force in pulley systems. The activity sequences facilitated students' sense making by requiring them to make and test predictions about various pulley systems by building and comparing different systems. We investigate the ways in which students discuss force while navigating the scaffolding activities and how these discussions compare between the physical and virtual treatments.

Published January 24, 2013
Last Modified July 1, 2013