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Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research
written by Eleanor C. Sayre and Michael C. Wittmann
We investigate the interplay between mathematics and physics resources in intermediate mechanics students. In the mechanics course, the selection and application of coordinate systems is a consistent thread. At the University of Maine, students often start the course with a strong preference to use Cartesian coordinates, in accordance with their prior physics and mathematics classes. In small-group interviews and in homework help sessions, we ask students to define a coordinate system and set up the equations of motion for a simple pendulum for which polar coordinates are more appropriate. We analyze video data from several encounters using a combination of Process/Object theory and Resource Theory. We find that students sometimes persist in using an inappropriate Cartesian system. Furthermore, students often derive (rather than recall) the details of the polar coordinate system, indicating that their knowledge is far from solid. To describe our work more precisely, we define a scale of plasticity and several heuristics for defining resources and their plasticity.
Subjects ADS Supplements Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Assessment
= Methods
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
Mathematical Tools
- Coordinate Systems
Oscillations & Waves
- Oscillations
= Pendula
- Reference Material
= Research study
PER-Central Type Levels Ratings
- PER Literature
- Upper Undergraduate
- Graduate/Professional
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Intended User:
Researcher
Format:
application/pdf
Access Rights:
Free access
Restriction:
© 2008 The American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.4.020105
NSF Numbers:
0633951
0442388
PACSs:
01.40.Fk
01.30.lb
01.40.Ha
Keywords:
Process/Object theory, Resource theory, coordinate system, intermediate mechanics, interviews, video analysis
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created February 16, 2010 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
July 14, 2013 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
November 12, 2008
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Record Link
AIP Format
E. Sayre and M. Wittmann, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 4 (2), 020105 (2008), WWW Document, (http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.4.020105).
AJP/PRST-PER
E. Sayre and M. Wittmann, Plasticity of intermediate mechanics students’ coordinate system choice Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 4 (2), 020105 (2008), <http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.4.020105>.
APA Format
Sayre, E., & Wittmann, M. (2008, November 12). Plasticity of intermediate mechanics students’ coordinate system choice. Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res., 4(2), 020105. Retrieved July 24, 2014, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.4.020105
Chicago Format
Sayre, Eleanor, and Michael Wittmann. "Plasticity of intermediate mechanics students’ coordinate system choice." Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 4, no. 2, (November 12, 2008): 020105, http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.4.020105 (accessed 24 July 2014).
MLA Format
Sayre, Eleanor, and Michael Wittmann. "Plasticity of intermediate mechanics students’ coordinate system choice." Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 4.2 (2008): 020105. 24 July 2014 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.4.020105>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Eleanor Sayre and Michael Wittmann", Title = {Plasticity of intermediate mechanics students’ coordinate system choice}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {4}, Number = {2}, Pages = {020105}, Month = {November}, Year = {2008} }
Refer Export Format

%A Eleanor Sayre
%A Michael Wittmann
%T Plasticity of intermediate mechanics students' coordinate system choice
%J Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.
%V 4
%N 2
%D November 12, 2008
%P 020105
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.4.020105
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article
%A Sayre, Eleanor
%A Wittmann, Michael
%D November 12, 2008
%T Plasticity of intermediate mechanics students' coordinate system choice
%J Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.
%V 4
%N 2
%P 020105
%8 November 12, 2008
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.4.020105


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