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written by Rachel E. Pepper, Stephanie V. Chasteen, Steven J. Pollock, and Katherine K. Perkins
We discuss student conceptual difficulties with Gauss's law observed in an upper-division Electricity and Magnetism (E&M) course. Difficulties at this level have been described in previous work; we present further quantitative and qualitative evidence that upper-division students still struggle with Gauss's law. This evidence is drawn from analysis of upper-division E&M conceptual post-tests, traditional exams, and formal student interviews. Examples of student difficulties include difficulty with the inverse nature of the problem, difficulty articulating complete symmetry arguments, and trouble recognizing that in situations without sufficient symmetry it is impossible (rather than "difficult") to calculate the electric field using Gauss's law. One possible explanation for some of these conceptual difficulties is that even students at the upper level may struggle to connect mathematical expressions to physical meanings.
Physics Education Research Conference 2010
Part of the PER Conference series
Portland, Oregon: July 21-22, 2010
Volume 1289, Pages 245-248
Subjects ADS Supplements Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Alternative Conceptions
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electric Fields and Potential
= Gauss' Law
- General
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
- Reference Material
= Report
= Research study
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
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- Researchers
- Professional/Practitioners
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Formats:
application/pdf
non-digital
Mirror:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.3515212
Access Rights:
Limited free access and
Available for purchase
A preprint of the work is available. A hard copy of the PERC 2010 proceedings is available for purchase from the AIP.
Restriction:
© 2010 American Institute of Physics
DOI:
10.1063/1.3515212
NSF Number:
0737118
PACSs:
01.40.Fk
01.30.1a, 01.40.-d
Keywords:
Gauss's Law, electricity and magnetism, student difficulties, symmetry, PERC 2010, physics education research
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created November 1, 2010 by Alea Smith
Record Updated:
May 1, 2013 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
August 24, 2010
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Record Link
AIP Format
R. Pepper, S. Chasteen, S. Pollock, and K. Perkins, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2010, Portland, Oregon, 2010, WWW Document, (http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10464&DocID=1924).
AJP/PRST-PER
R. Pepper, S. Chasteen, S. Pollock, and K. Perkins, Our best juniors still struggle with Gauss’s Law: Characterizing their difficulties presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2010, Portland, Oregon, 2010, <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10464&DocID=1924>.
APA Format
Pepper, R., Chasteen, S., Pollock, S., & Perkins, K. (2010, July 21-22). Our best juniors still struggle with Gauss’s Law: Characterizing their difficulties. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2010, Portland, Oregon. Retrieved July 29, 2014, from http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10464&DocID=1924
Chicago Format
Pepper, R, S. Chasteen, S. Pollock, and K. Perkins. "Our best juniors still struggle with Gauss’s Law: Characterizing their difficulties." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2010, Portland, Oregon, July 21-22, 2010. http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10464&DocID=1924 (accessed 29 July 2014).
MLA Format
Pepper, Rachel, Stephanie Chasteen, Steven Pollock, and Katherine Perkins. "Our best juniors still struggle with Gauss’s Law: Characterizing their difficulties." Physics Education Research Conference 2010. Portland, Oregon: 2010. 245-248 Vol. 1289 of PER Conference. 29 July 2014 <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10464&DocID=1924>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{ Author = "Rachel Pepper and Stephanie Chasteen and Steven Pollock and Katherine Perkins", Title = {Our best juniors still struggle with Gauss’s Law: Characterizing their difficulties}, BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2010}, Pages = {245-248}, Address = {Portland, Oregon}, Series = {PER Conference}, Volume = {1289}, Month = {July 21-22}, Year = {2010} }
Refer Export Format

%A Rachel Pepper
%A Stephanie Chasteen
%A Steven Pollock
%A Katherine Perkins
%T Our best juniors still struggle with Gauss's Law: Characterizing their difficulties
%S PER Conference
%V 1289
%D July 21-22 2010
%P 245-248
%C Portland, Oregon
%U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10464&DocID=1924
%O Physics Education Research Conference 2010
%O July 21-22
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Conference Proceedings
%A Pepper, Rachel
%A Chasteen, Stephanie
%A Pollock, Steven
%A Perkins, Katherine
%D July 21-22 2010
%T Our best juniors still struggle with Gauss's Law: Characterizing their difficulties
%B Physics Education Research Conference 2010
%C Portland, Oregon
%V 1289
%P 245-248
%S PER Conference
%8 July 21-22
%U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10464&DocID=1924


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Our best juniors still struggle with Gauss’s Law: Characterizing their difficulties:


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