Students' difficulties with unit vectors and scalar multiplication of a vector
written by
Pablo Barniol
In this article we report an investigation on students' understanding of: 1) unit vectors and, 2) scalar multiplication of a vector. We administered two different tests to a total of 850 students after taking their first introductory physics course on mechanics at a large private Mexican university. The first test about unit vectors was taken by 270 students and the second test about scalar multiplication of a vector by 580 students. In the first part of this article, we analyze students' difficulties sketching the unit vector in the direction of a vector in the Cartesian coordinate plane. In the second part, we analyze students' responses in two types of problems: positive and negative scalar multiplication of a vector. In both parts of this article we describe frequent errors that have not been reported in the literature.
Physics Education Research Conference 2011
Part of the PER Conference series Omaha, Nebraska: August 3-4, 2011 Volume 1413, Pages 115-118
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Record Link
<a href="http://www.compadre.org/portal/items/detail.cfm?ID=11827">Barniol, Pablo. "Students' difficulties with unit vectors and scalar multiplication of a vector." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2011, Omaha, Nebraska, August 3-4, 2011.</a>
AIP Format
P. Barniol, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2011, Omaha, Nebraska, 2011, WWW Document, (http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11827&DocID=2677).
AJP/PRST-PER
P. Barniol, Students' difficulties with unit vectors and scalar multiplication of a vector, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2011, Omaha, Nebraska, 2011, <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11827&DocID=2677>.
APA Format
Barniol, P. (2011, August 3-4). Students' difficulties with unit vectors and scalar multiplication of a vector. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2011, Omaha, Nebraska. Retrieved December 3, 2016, from http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11827&DocID=2677
Chicago Format
Barniol, Pablo. "Students' difficulties with unit vectors and scalar multiplication of a vector." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2011, Omaha, Nebraska, August 3-4, 2011. http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11827&DocID=2677 (accessed 3 December 2016).
MLA Format
Barniol, Pablo. "Students' difficulties with unit vectors and scalar multiplication of a vector." Physics Education Research Conference 2011. Omaha, Nebraska: 2011. 115-118 Vol. 1413 of PER Conference. 3 Dec. 2016 <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11827&DocID=2677>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{
Author = "Pablo Barniol",
Title = {Students' difficulties with unit vectors and scalar multiplication of a vector},
BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2011},
Pages = {115-118},
Address = {Omaha, Nebraska},
Series = {PER Conference},
Volume = {1413},
Month = {August 3-4},
Year = {2011}
}
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%A Pablo Barniol
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