Should students be provided diagrams or asked to draw them while solving introductory physics problems? Documents
Should students be provided diagrams or asked to draw them while solving introductory physics problems?
Alexandru Maries and
Drawing appropriate diagrams is a useful problem solving heuristic that can transform a given problem into a representation that is easier to exploit for solving it. A major focus while helping introductory physics students learn problem solving is to help them appreciate that drawing diagrams facilitates problem solution. We conducted an investigation in which 111 students in an algebra-based introductory physics course were subjected to two different interventions during recitation quizzes throughout the semester. They were either (1) asked to solve problems in which the diagrams were drawn for them or (2) explicitly told to draw a diagram. A comparison group was not given any instruction regarding diagrams. We developed a rubric to score the problem-solving performance of students in different intervention groups. Here, we present some surprising results for problems which involve considerations of initial and final conditions.
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Published February 6, 2012
Last Modified April 25, 2012
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