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written by Chandralekha Singh
Helping students learn why Gauss's law can or cannot be easily applied to determine the strength of the electric field at various points for a particular charge distribution, and then helping them learn to determine the shape of the Gaussian surfaces if sufficient symmetry exists can develop their reasoning and problem solving skills. We investigate the difficulties that students in calculus-based introductory physics courses have with the concepts of symmetry, electric field and electric flux that are pivotal to Gauss's law of electricity. Determination of the electric field using Gauss's law requires discerning the symmetry of a particular charge distribution and being able to predict the direction of the electric field everywhere if a high symmetry exists. It requires a good grasp of how to add the electric field vectors using the principle of superposition, and the concepts of area vector and electric flux. We administered free response and multiple-choice questions and conducted interviews with individual students using a think-aloud protocol to elucidate the difficulties students have with the concepts of symmetry, electric field and electric flux. Here we discuss student responses to some questions on a multiple-choice test administered to them. The test can be used both as a teaching and assessment tool.
Physics Education Research Conference 2004
Part of the PER Conference series
Sacramento, California: August 4-5, 2004
Volume 790, Pages 65-68
Subjects ADS Supplements Resource Types
Education Foundations
- Assessment
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Problem Solving
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electric Fields and Potential
= Electric Field
= Gauss' Law
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
- Reference Material
= Research study
Intended Users Formats Ratings
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- Educators
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Mirror:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2084702
Access Rights:
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Restriction:
© 2004 American Institute of Physics
DOI:
10.1063/1.2084702
PACSs:
01.40.Fk
01.40.Gm
02.50.-r
Keywords:
Gaussian distributions, PERC 2004, educational courses, electric fields, free response, gaussian distributiosn, interviews, multiple-choice questions, student difficulties, symmetry, symmetry, teaching
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created October 19, 2009 by Alea Smith
Record Updated:
July 8, 2013 by Lyle Barbato
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Record Link
AIP Format
C. Singh, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2004, Sacramento, California, 2004, WWW Document, (http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9533&DocID=3438).
AJP/PRST-PER
C. Singh, Student understanding of Symmetry and Gauss's law, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2004, Sacramento, California, 2004, <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9533&DocID=3438>.
APA Format
Singh, C. (2004, August 4-5). Student understanding of Symmetry and Gauss's law. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2004, Sacramento, California. Retrieved November 22, 2014, from http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9533&DocID=3438
Chicago Format
Singh, Chandralekha. "Student understanding of Symmetry and Gauss's law." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2004, Sacramento, California, August 4-5, 2004. http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9533&DocID=3438 (accessed 22 November 2014).
MLA Format
Singh, Chandralekha. "Student understanding of Symmetry and Gauss's law." Physics Education Research Conference 2004. Sacramento, California: 2004. 65-68 Vol. 790 of PER Conference. 22 Nov. 2014 <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9533&DocID=3438>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{ Author = "Chandralekha Singh", Title = {Student understanding of Symmetry and Gauss's law}, BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2004}, Pages = {65-68}, Address = {Sacramento, California}, Series = {PER Conference}, Volume = {790}, Month = {August 4-5}, Year = {2004} }
Refer Export Format

%A Chandralekha Singh
%T Student understanding of Symmetry and Gauss's law
%S PER Conference
%V 790
%D August 4-5 2004
%P 65-68
%C Sacramento, California
%U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9533&DocID=3438
%O Physics Education Research Conference 2004
%O August 4-5
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Conference Proceedings
%A Singh, Chandralekha
%D August 4-5 2004
%T Student understanding of Symmetry and Gauss's law
%B Physics Education Research Conference 2004
%C Sacramento, California
%V 790
%P 65-68
%S PER Conference
%8 August 4-5
%U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9533&DocID=3438


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