home - login - register

Thesis Detail Page

written by Eric Kuo
In this dissertation, I explore the ways that undergraduate physics students make conceptual sense of physics equations and the factors that support this type of reasoning through three separate studies.

In the first study, I investigate how students' can understand physics equations intuitively through use of a particular class of cognitive elements, symbolic forms (Sherin, 2001). Additionally, I show how students leverage this intuitive, conceptual meaning of equations in problem solving. By doing so, these students avoid algorithmic manipulations, instead using a heuristic approach that leverages the equation in a conceptual argument.

The second study asks the question why some students use symbolic forms and others don't. Although it is possible that students simply lack the knowledge required, I argue that this is not the only explanation. Rather, symbolic forms use is connected to particular epistemological stances, in-the-moment views on what kinds of knowledge and reasoning are appropriate in physics. Specifically, stances that value coherence between formal, mathematical knowledge and intuitive, conceptual knowledge are likely to support symbolic forms use. Through the case study of one student, I argue that both reasoning with equations and epistemological stances are dynamic, and that shifts in epistemological stance can produce shifts in whether symbolic forms are used to reason with equations.

The third study expands the focus to what influences how students reason with equations across disciplinary problem contexts. In seeking to understand differences in how the same student reasons on two similar problems in calculus and physics, I show two factors, beyond the content or structure of the problems, that can help explain why reasoning on these two problems would be so different. This contributes to an understanding of what can support or impede transfer of content knowledge across disciplinary boundaries.
University: University of Maryland
Academic Department:  Physics
Pages 267
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Cognition
- Learning Theory
= Cognitive Apprenticeship
- Problem Solving
= Metacognition
- Sample Population
= Age: Adult
- Graduate/Professional
- Reference Material
= Thesis/Dissertation
PER-Central Types Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Thesis/Dissertation
- Educators
- Researchers
  • Currently 0.0/5

Want to rate this material?
Login here!


Format:
application/pdf
Access Rights:
Free access
Restriction:
© 2013 Eric Kuo
Type:
Ph.D.
Keywords:
coherence, epistemology, making sense with math, mathematics, plug-and-chug, symbolic forms
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created July 2, 2014 by Joe Redish
Record Updated:
July 6, 2014 by Bruce Mason
Last Update
when Cataloged:
December 15, 2013
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
E. Kuo, Ph.D., University of Maryland, 2013, WWW Document, (http://www.physics.umd.edu/perg/dissertations/Kuo/).
AJP/PRST-PER
E. Kuo, More than just "plug-and-chug": Exploring how physics students make sense with equations, Ph.D., University of Maryland, 2013, <http://www.physics.umd.edu/perg/dissertations/Kuo/>.
APA Format
Kuo, E. (2013, December 15). More than just "plug-and-chug": Exploring how physics students make sense with equations (Ph.D., University of Maryland, 2013). Retrieved December 17, 2014, from http://www.physics.umd.edu/perg/dissertations/Kuo/
Chicago Format
Kuo, Eric. "More than just "plug-and-chug": Exploring how physics students make sense with equations." Ph.D., University of Maryland, 2013. http://www.physics.umd.edu/perg/dissertations/Kuo/ (accessed 17 December 2014).
MLA Format
Kuo, Eric. "More than just "plug-and-chug": Exploring how physics students make sense with equations." Ph.D.. 15 Dec. 2013. University of Maryland, 2013. 17 Dec. 2014 <http://www.physics.umd.edu/perg/dissertations/Kuo/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@phdthesis{ Author = "Eric Kuo", Title = {More than just "plug-and-chug": Exploring how physics students make sense with equations}, School = {University of Maryland}, Type = {Ph.D.}, Month = {December}, Year = {2013} }
Refer Export Format

%A Eric Kuo
%T More than just "plug-and-chug": Exploring how physics students make sense with equations
%R Ph.D.
%D December 15, 2013
%P 267
%I University of Maryland
%U http://www.physics.umd.edu/perg/dissertations/Kuo/
%O Physics
%O application/pdf
%O Ph.D.

EndNote Export Format

%0 Thesis
%A Kuo, Eric
%D December 15, 2013
%T More than just "plug-and-chug": Exploring how physics students make sense with equations
%B Physics
%I University of Maryland
%P 267
%8 December 15, 2013
%9 Ph.D.
%U http://www.physics.umd.edu/perg/dissertations/Kuo/


Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.

Citation Source Information

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.

Save to my folders

Contribute

Similar Materials