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Abstract Title: Investigation of Students’ Alternative Conceptions of Vector Direction with Mexican Students
Abstract: In this work we investigate the more common alternative conceptions and difficulties of university Mexican students with the concept of direction of a vector before instruction.
We present students' difficulties with the vector direction concept due to the use of two conventions in the Mexican system. The common direction conception in the American system conflicts with a convention of this property as it is composed of two separate properties: direction as the line of action and sense as which way it points. Both conventions are regularly used in the Mexican educational system.
Additionally, based on the work of Nguyen and Meltzer [1], we designed questions in which students are asked for direction of a vector without indicating any particular convention, and questions indicating the line of action convention. We compare responses of students in the two types of problems, we analyze alternative conceptions of direction in the first type (investigating in depth the ones detected in [1]), and alternative conceptions of direction and sense in the second type of problems.  

[1] Ngoc-Loan Nguyen and David E. Meltzer, "Initial understanding of vector concepts among students in introductory physics courses," Am. J. Phys. 71, 630-638 (2003).
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Genaro Zavala
Tecnologico de Monterrey
Garza Sada 2501
Monterrey, Non U.S. 64849
Phone: (5281)83582000
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Pablo J. Barniol
Tecnologico de Monterrey
Garza Sada 2501
Monterrey, Mexico