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The Role of Work-energy Bar Charts as a Physical Representation in Problem Solving Documents

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The Role of Work-energy Bar Charts as a Physical Representation in Problem Solving 

written by Xueli Zou

An energy process can be represented by verbal, pictorial, bar chart, and mathematical representations. This multiple-representation technique has been introduced and used in the work-energy part of introductory college physics courses. Assessment indicates that the work-energy bar charts, as a physical representation of a work-energy process, play an important role in student problem solving: they help students 1) reason about work-energy problems conceptually first, 2) set up the generalized work-energy equation correctly and easily, and 3) make inferences and evaluate their problem solutions. One important goal of this investigation is to provide a research base for the design of instruction to help students develop expertise in solving work-energy problems.

Published July 26, 2001
Last Modified March 7, 2009

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