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Journal of Research in Science Teaching
written by Lin Ding, Ruth Chabay, and Bruce Sherwood
We investigated students' conceptual learning of energy topics in an innovative college-level introductory mechanics course, entitled Matter & Interactions (M&I) Modern Mechanics. This course differs from traditional curricula in that it emphasizes application of a small number of fundamental principles across various scales, involving microscopic atoms, macroscopic deformable objects, and large-scale planetary systems. To best match the unique features of this course, a multiple-choice energy assessment was developed. We followed the development framework and explicitly delineated test purpose, scope, and specifications to guide the design, implementation and evaluation of the energy assessment. Also, particular attention was given to: (1) categorizing content and cognition levels and (2) determining reasoning steps of each test item--aspects that often were not explicitly addressed in designing prior concept assessments. We implemented the energy assessment as a written test before and after course instruction with M&I students at two research universities. Interviews were also conducted to explore students' reasoning in applying energy concepts. Results showed that positive change in student conceptual understanding after course instruction was significant on the entire assessment, on individual items, and on individual test objectives. Subsequent interviews further revealed that after instruction students could properly apply the Energy Principle and perform qualitative analysis without using formula sheets. However, students still showed difficulty in dealing with systems involving deformable objects. This study exemplifies practical means of establishing and evaluating key assessment features, provides evidence for the effectiveness of a principle-focused approach to physics learning, and offers useful implications for teaching energy topics.
Journal of Research in Science Teaching: Volume 50, Issue 6, Pages 722 - 747
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Work and Energy
Education Foundations
- Assessment
= Conceptual Assessment
Education Practices
- Curriculum Development
General Physics
- Collections
= Introductory Mechanics
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Article
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© 2013 Wiley Periodicals
DOI:
10.1002/tea.21097
Keywords:
Energy Principle, M&I, Matter and Interactions
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created December 8, 2014 by Bruce Mason
Record Updated:
December 8, 2014 by Bruce Mason
Last Update
when Cataloged:
July 10, 2013
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Record Link
AIP Format
L. Ding, R. Chabay, and B. Sherwood, J. Res. Sci. Teaching 50 (6), 722 (2013), WWW Document, (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tea.21097).
AJP/PRST-PER
L. Ding, R. Chabay, and B. Sherwood, How do students in an innovative principle-based mechanics course understand energy concepts?, J. Res. Sci. Teaching 50 (6), 722 (2013), <http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tea.21097>.
APA Format
Ding, L., Chabay, R., & Sherwood, B. (2013, July 10). How do students in an innovative principle-based mechanics course understand energy concepts?. J. Res. Sci. Teaching, 50(6), 722 - 747. Retrieved December 11, 2017, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tea.21097
Chicago Format
Ding, L, R. Chabay, and B. Sherwood. "How do students in an innovative principle-based mechanics course understand energy concepts?." J. Res. Sci. Teaching. 50, no. 6, (July 10, 2013): 722 - 747, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tea.21097 (accessed 11 December 2017).
MLA Format
Ding, Lin, Ruth Chabay, and Bruce Sherwood. "How do students in an innovative principle-based mechanics course understand energy concepts?." J. Res. Sci. Teaching 50.6 (2013): 722 - 747. 11 Dec. 2017 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tea.21097>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Lin Ding and Ruth Chabay and Bruce Sherwood", Title = {How do students in an innovative principle-based mechanics course understand energy concepts?}, Journal = {J. Res. Sci. Teaching}, Volume = {50}, Number = {6}, Pages = {722 - 747}, Month = {July}, Year = {2013} }
Refer Export Format

%A Lin Ding
%A Ruth Chabay
%A Bruce Sherwood
%T How do students in an innovative principle-based mechanics course understand energy concepts?
%J J. Res. Sci. Teaching
%V 50
%N 6
%D July 10, 2013
%P 722 - 747
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tea.21097
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article
%A Ding, Lin
%A Chabay, Ruth
%A Sherwood, Bruce
%D July 10, 2013
%T How do students in an innovative principle-based mechanics course understand energy concepts?
%J J. Res. Sci. Teaching
%V 50
%N 6
%P 722 - 747
%8 July 10, 2013
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tea.21097


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