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Abstract Title: Listening to Students: How We Investigate the FCI
Abstract: We have been investigating the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) since 2005 so that we may better understand what the FCI tells us about our teaching.  In 2012 we turned to think-aloud student interviews on a subset of questions.  Doing so showed us that the difficulties they had with some questions had nothing to do with their understanding of physics.  These difficulties involved diagrams, notations, and vocabulary that make perfect sense to physics teachers but can easily confuse beginning students.   Based on these interviews, we attempted to clarify some of the FCI questions and then conducted more think-aloud sessions.  After two iterations, the third set of interviews revealed student difficulties which clearly centered on the physics.  Here we focus on two particular conceptual difficulties that arose consistently - confusing force and momentum and isolating events in time.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Wendy K. Adams
University of Northern Colorado
Department of Physics
CB 127
Greeley, CO 80639
Phone: 970-539-6154
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Richard Dietz, University of Northern Colorado, and
Matthew Semak, University of Northern Colorado