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Algebra-Based Students & Vectors: Assessing Physical Understanding in Arrow vs ijk
written by John B. Buncher
A recent study of calculus-based introductory physics students found that they performed significantly better on vector addition and subtraction tasks when the questions were given using the i jk representation instead of an "arrows-on-a-grid" representation, and also presented evidence that working knowledge of the i jk format was necessary to correctly perform vector operations in the arrow representation. A subsequent study found that algebra-based physics students also performed significantly better in the i jk representation than the arrow representation in both one- and two-dimensional problems, even though no explicit i jk instruction was given in the course. In this follow-up investigation we asked algebra-based physics students to reason physically about their answers, in order to assess if the higher performance on i jk questions indicates physical understanding or is the result of algorithmic "plug-and-chug" thinking. While students using i jk were more successful in computing the correct answer, their use of physical reasoning in justifying their answers was not significantly different than those using the arrow format. However, the higher number of students both correctly calculating and reasoning in the i jk format suggests that these students may benefit from i jk instruction.
Physics Education Research Conference 2016
Part of the PER Conference series
Sacramento, CA: July 20-21, 2016
Pages 56-59
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Foundations
- Cognition
- Communication
= Representations
- Problem Solving
= Representational Use
- Student Characteristics
= Skills
Mathematical Tools
- Vector Algebra
= Vector Addition
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
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Mirror:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/perc.20…
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Free access
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This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the published article's author(s), title, proceedings citation, and DOI.
Rights Holder:
American Association of Physics Teachers
DOI:
10.1119/perc.2016.pr.009
Keyword:
PERC 2016
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created November 30, 2016 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
December 26, 2016 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
December 29, 2016
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AIP Format
J. Buncher, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2016, Sacramento, CA, 2016, WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14192&DocID=4544).
AJP/PRST-PER
J. Buncher, Algebra-Based Students & Vectors: Assessing Physical Understanding in Arrow vs ijk, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2016, Sacramento, CA, 2016, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14192&DocID=4544>.
APA Format
Buncher, J. (2016, July 20-21). Algebra-Based Students & Vectors: Assessing Physical Understanding in Arrow vs ijk. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2016, Sacramento, CA. Retrieved December 12, 2017, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14192&DocID=4544
Chicago Format
Buncher, John. "Algebra-Based Students & Vectors: Assessing Physical Understanding in Arrow vs ijk." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2016, Sacramento, CA, July 20-21, 2016. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14192&DocID=4544 (accessed 12 December 2017).
MLA Format
Buncher, John. "Algebra-Based Students & Vectors: Assessing Physical Understanding in Arrow vs ijk." Physics Education Research Conference 2016. Sacramento, CA: 2016. 56-59 of PER Conference. 12 Dec. 2017 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14192&DocID=4544>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{ Author = "John Buncher", Title = {Algebra-Based Students & Vectors: Assessing Physical Understanding in Arrow vs ijk}, BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2016}, Pages = {56-59}, Address = {Sacramento, CA}, Series = {PER Conference}, Month = {July 20-21}, Year = {2016} }
Refer Export Format

%A John Buncher
%T Algebra-Based Students & Vectors: Assessing Physical Understanding in Arrow vs ijk
%S PER Conference
%D July 20-21 2016
%P 56-59
%C Sacramento, CA
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14192&DocID=4544
%O Physics Education Research Conference 2016
%O July 20-21
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Conference Proceedings
%A Buncher, John
%D July 20-21 2016
%T Algebra-Based Students & Vectors: Assessing Physical Understanding in Arrow vs ijk
%B Physics Education Research Conference 2016
%C Sacramento, CA
%P 56-59
%S PER Conference
%8 July 20-21
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14192&DocID=4544


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