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PERC 2009 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Addressing student difficulties considering entropy and heat engines
Abstract: In an ongoing investigation of student understanding of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics concepts in the upper division, we have uncovered several student difficulties with the topic of entropy. Based on the results of our research we have developed and implemented a three-tutorial sequence designed to guide students to develop a robust understanding of entropy and its applications. We present the rationale behind, and the design intent of, the third tutorial in this sequence, dealing primarily with entropy considerations of heat engines. We also present pre- and post-instruction data from the first implementation of this tutorial showing evidence of its effectiveness at improving student understanding. Supported in part by NSF Grants REC-0633951 and DUE-0817282.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Trevor I. Smith
University of Maine
5709 Bennett Hall
Orono, ME 04469
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Warren M. Christensen, University of Maine, warren.christensen -at- umit.maine.edu

John R. Thompson, University of Maine, john.thompson -at- umit.maine.edu

Donald B. Mountcastle, University of Maine, mtcastle -at- umit.maine.edu