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PERC 2008 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Student Difficulty with Vector Field Notation in Upper Level E&M
Abstract: An upper level E&M course (i.e. based on Griffiths) involves the extensive integration of vector calculus concepts and notation with abstract physics concepts like field and potential.  We hope that students take what they have learned in their math classes and apply it to help represent and make sense of the physics.  This poster looks at how students in an upper level E&M course interpret (i) mathematical notation used to represent vectors and vector fields and (ii) diagrams used to represent vector fields.  I present preliminary data from student interviews and paper and pencil worksheets that suggest some difficulties with interpretation are related to ambiguities in notation that are context dependent.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Brant Hinrichs
Drury University, Physics Department
900 N. Benton Ave.
Springfield, MO 65802
Phone: (417) 873-6976