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Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research
written by Beth A. Lindsey
This paper describes an investigation into student reasoning about potential energy in the context of introductory electrostatics. Similar incorrect reasoning patterns emerged both in written questions administered after relevant instruction and in one-on-one interviews. These reasoning patterns are also prevalent in responses to questions posed about gravitational potential energy in the context of universal gravitation in introductory mechanics. This finding is relevant for interdisciplinary research, because many courses in multiple disciplines first introduce the concept of electric potential energy in analogy to gravitational potential energy. The results suggest that in introductory courses students do not gain an understanding of potential energy that is sufficiently robust to apply in more advanced physics courses or in disciplines other than physics, in which students must frequently reason with energy in the context of interactions between atoms and molecules.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Gravity
Education Foundations
- Alternative Conceptions
- Cognition
- Problem Solving
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electrostatics
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
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Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.10.013101
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created July 27, 2015 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
May 30, 2016 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
January 17, 2014
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Record Link
AIP Format
B. Lindsey, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 10 (1), 013101 (2014), WWW Document, (http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.10.013101).
AJP/PRST-PER
B. Lindsey, Student reasoning about electrostatic and gravitational potential energy: An exploratory study with interdisciplinary consequences, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 10 (1), 013101 (2014), <http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.10.013101>.
APA Format
Lindsey, B. (2014, January 17). Student reasoning about electrostatic and gravitational potential energy: An exploratory study with interdisciplinary consequences. Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res., 10(1), 013101. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.10.013101
Chicago Format
Lindsey, Beth. "Student reasoning about electrostatic and gravitational potential energy: An exploratory study with interdisciplinary consequences." Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 10, no. 1, (January 17, 2014): 013101, http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.10.013101 (accessed 13 December 2017).
MLA Format
Lindsey, Beth. "Student reasoning about electrostatic and gravitational potential energy: An exploratory study with interdisciplinary consequences." Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 10.1 (2014): 013101. 13 Dec. 2017 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.10.013101>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Beth Lindsey", Title = {Student reasoning about electrostatic and gravitational potential energy: An exploratory study with interdisciplinary consequences}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {10}, Number = {1}, Pages = {013101}, Month = {January}, Year = {2014} }
Refer Export Format

%A Beth Lindsey
%T Student reasoning about electrostatic and gravitational potential energy: An exploratory study with interdisciplinary consequences
%J Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.
%V 10
%N 1
%D January 17, 2014
%P 013101
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.10.013101
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article
%A Lindsey, Beth
%D January 17, 2014
%T Student reasoning about electrostatic and gravitational potential energy: An exploratory study with interdisciplinary consequences
%J Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.
%V 10
%N 1
%P 013101
%8 January 17, 2014
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.10.013101


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