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Abstract Title: From Fear to Fun in Thermodynamics: Multiple Research Perspectives for Assessing Learning during a Curricular Sequence
Abstract: The complexity of thermodynamics challenges many students as well as faculty. Understanding what a partial derivative represents may be key to reducing the anxiety associated with this topic. In this session, participants will engage with a sequence of activities designed to elucidate the mathematics of thermodynamics through multiple representations of partial derivatives and with students who have experienced these activities. Activities include:
  • an analogical device for physically representing changes that hold specific quantities fixed,
  • experiments that provide exemplars of measuring thermodynamic quantities involving partial derivatives,
  • thought experiments where students design ways to measure particular partial derivatives representing thermodynamic quantities, and
  • an algebraic formulation of a partial derivative chain rule.
Several discussants --- including Ayush Gupta and Joseph Wagner --- will each then comment on how their different research perspectives can contribute to and are necessary for a holistic understanding of what happens during this kind of curricular sequence.
Abstract Type: Custom Invited Format

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Corinne A. Manogue
Oregon State University
Department of Physics
301 Weniger Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331
Phone: (541) 737-1695
and Co-Presenter(s)
David Roundy, Oregon State University
Mary Bridget Kustusch, Oregon State University
Emily van Zee, Oregon State University
Tevian Dray, Oregon State University

Ayush Gupta, University of Maryland
Joseph Wagner, Xavier University