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Abstract Title: To What Extent Is Seeing Not Believing?
Abstract: Demonstrations (demos) are a vital component of most introductory physics courses. Despite the presence of demonstrations in undergraduate physics, research has shown that students learn little, if anything from lecture demos. In addition, some research suggests that demos may even contribute to students misconceptions, depending on how they are delivered. We analyze one delivery method that requires students predictions of lecture demonstration outcomes in introductory mechanics and electricity and magnetism at two large research universities. We compare students predictions before having seen the demonstration to what they report as having observed both right after the demonstration and several weeks later. Students' post-demonstration explanations of the physics behind each demonstration are also analyzed. Triangulation of these data points lead us to better understand how pre-instructional beliefs influence student interpretation and persistent understanding of physics lecture demonstrations. This can mitigate the disconnect that has been shown to exist between what instructors think they are demonstrating and what students actually observe/remember.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Kelly Miller
Harvard University
35 Oxford
Cambridge, MA 02138

Poster Gallery Session Specific Information

Poster 1 Title: To What Extent Is Seeing Not Believing?
Poster 1 Authors: Kelly Miller, Harvard University
Kelvin Chu, University of Vermont
Nathaniel Lasry, McGill University
Eric Mazur, Harvard University
Poster 1 Abstract: Demonstrations (demos) are a vital component of most introductory physics courses. Despite the presence of demonstrations in undergraduate physics, research has shown that students learn little, if anything from lecture demos. In addition, some research suggests that demos may even contribute to students' misconceptions, depending on how they are delivered. We analyze one delivery method that requires students' predictions of lecture demonstration outcomes in introductory mechanics and electricity and magnetism at two large research universities. We compare students' predictions before having seen the demonstration to what they report as having observed both right after the demonstration and several weeks later. Students' post-demonstration explanations of the physics behind each demonstration are also analyzed. Triangulation of these data points lead us to better understand how pre-instructional beliefs influence student interpretation and persistent understanding of physics lecture demonstrations. This can mitigate the 'disconnect' that has been shown to exist between what instructors think they are demonstrating and what students actually observe/remember.