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Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics
written by
Shih-Yin Lin,
Alexandru Maries, and
Chandralekha Singh
We investigate introductory physics students' difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations and the effect of scaffolding on students' performance. We gave a typical problem that can be solved using Gauss's law involving a spherically symmetric charge distribution (a conducting sphere concentric with a conducting spherical shell) to 95 calculus-based introductory physics students. We asked students to write a mathematical expression for the electric field in various regions and asked them to graph the electric field. We knew from previous experience that students have great difficulty in graphing the electric field. Therefore, we implemented two scaffolding interventions to help them. Students who received the scaffolding support were either (1) asked to plot the electric field in each region first (before having to plot it as a function of distance from the center of the sphere) or (2) asked to plot the electric field in each region after explicitly evaluating the electric field at the beginning, mid and end points of each region. The comparison group was only asked to plot the electric field at the end of the problem. We found that students benefited the most from intervention (1) and that intervention (2), although intended to aid students, had an adverse effect. Also, recorded interviews were conducted with a few students in order to understand how students were impacted by the aforementioned interventions.
Physics Education Research Conference 2012
Part of the PER Conference series Philadelphia, PA: August 1-2, 2012 Volume 1513, Pages 250-253
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Record Link
<a href="http://www.compadre.org/PER/items/detail.cfm?ID=12826">Lin, S, A. Maries, and C. Singh. "Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2012, Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012.</a>
AIP Format
S. Lin, A. Maries, and C. Singh, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2012, Philadelphia, PA, 2012, WWW Document, (http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12826&DocID=3359).
AJP/PRST-PER
S. Lin, A. Maries, and C. Singh, Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2012, Philadelphia, PA, 2012, <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12826&DocID=3359>.
APA Format
Lin, S., Maries, A., & Singh, C. (2012, August 1-2). Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2012, Philadelphia, PA. Retrieved August 5, 2015, from http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12826&DocID=3359
Chicago Format
Lin, S, A. Maries, and C. Singh. "Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2012, Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012. http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12826&DocID=3359 (accessed 5 August 2015).
MLA Format
Lin, Shih-Yin, Alexandru Maries, and Chandralekha Singh. "Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics." Physics Education Research Conference 2012. Philadelphia, PA: 2012. 250-253 Vol. 1513 of PER Conference. 5 Aug. 2015 <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12826&DocID=3359>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{
Author = "Shih-Yin Lin and Alexandru Maries and Chandralekha Singh",
Title = {Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics},
BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2012},
Pages = {250-253},
Address = {Philadelphia, PA},
Series = {PER Conference},
Volume = {1513},
Month = {August 1-2},
Year = {2012}
}
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%A Shih-Yin Lin
EndNote Export Format
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The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual. The AJP/PRST-PER presented is based on the AIP Style with the addition of journal article titles and conference proceeding article titles. The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References. The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation. The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ. Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics:Know of another related resource? Login to relate this resource to it. |
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