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PERC 2012 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: What Do Students Think "Thinking Like A Physicist" Means
Abstract: An important goal of physics instruction is learning how to think like a physicist. We surveyed n=63 students in a calculus-based introductory mechanics course about what they think "thinking like a physicist" means, as well as what kinds of reasoning they can do now but used to be difficult for them, what they do when they are stuck on a problem, and how they know when they understand a topic or problem well. Nearly half of the students report visualization and understanding physics questions as reasoning that used to be difficult for them. A similar fraction of students consider being able to solve problems straightforwardly as the primary indicator of their understanding of a physics concept or problem. We coded students' responses and performed a cluster analysis to identify groups of students with similar patterns of responses. We discuss this analysis and the pedagogical implications of the results.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Brinkley Mathews
University of Memphis
CPS 2324
Memphis, TN 38152
Phone: 6155872413
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Elizabeth Gire