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Student Sense Making about Equipotential Graphs
written by Paul J. Emigh, Jonathan W. Alfson, and Elizabeth Gire
The electric potential is often represented graphically using equipotential lines. Representing a multivariable function like the electric potential in this way can be challenging to interpret, and it is often helpful to make sense of a contour graph by making connections to other physical and mathematical ideas. We describe how upperlevel physics students make sense of two-dimensional equipotential graphs representing the electric potential. Our data are the students' responses to a matched pair of open-ended questions given at the beginning and end of a junior-level electrostatics course. Students predominantly discussed the sign, shape, and location of the charged objects that give rise to the potential. We also find that, while some students discuss how the potential changes in space, they rarely connect the potential explicitly to an electric field, even after junior-level instruction on electrostatics.
Physics Education Research Conference 2018
Part of the PER Conference series
Washington, DC: August 1-2, 2018
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Alternative Conceptions
- Cognition
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electric Fields and Potential
- Upper Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
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Format:
application/pdf
Mirror:
https://doi.org/10.1119/perc.2018…
Access Rights:
Free access
License:
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.2018.pr.Emigh
NSF Numbers:
1323800
1612480
Keyword:
PERC 2018
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created December 31, 2018 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
December 31, 2018 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
December 31, 2018
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Record Link
AIP Format
P. Emigh, J. Alfson, and E. Gire, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2018, Washington, DC, 2018, WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14780&DocID=4927).
AJP/PRST-PER
P. Emigh, J. Alfson, and E. Gire, Student Sense Making about Equipotential Graphs, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2018, Washington, DC, 2018, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14780&DocID=4927>.
APA Format
Emigh, P., Alfson, J., & Gire, E. (2018, August 1-2). Student Sense Making about Equipotential Graphs. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2018, Washington, DC. Retrieved March 3, 2021, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14780&DocID=4927
Chicago Format
Emigh, P, J. Alfson, and E. Gire. "Student Sense Making about Equipotential Graphs." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2018, Washington, DC, August 1-2, 2018. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14780&DocID=4927 (accessed 3 March 2021).
MLA Format
Emigh, Paul, Jonathan W. Alfson, and Elizabeth Gire. "Student Sense Making about Equipotential Graphs." Physics Education Research Conference 2018. Washington, DC: 2018. of PER Conference. 3 Mar. 2021 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14780&DocID=4927>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{ Author = "Paul Emigh and Jonathan W. Alfson and Elizabeth Gire", Title = {Student Sense Making about Equipotential Graphs}, BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2018}, Address = {Washington, DC}, Series = {PER Conference}, Month = {August 1-2}, Year = {2018} }
Refer Export Format

%A Paul Emigh
%A Jonathan W. Alfson
%A Elizabeth Gire
%T Student Sense Making about Equipotential Graphs
%S PER Conference
%D August 1-2 2018
%C Washington, DC
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14780&DocID=4927
%O Physics Education Research Conference 2018
%O August 1-2
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Conference Proceedings
%A Emigh, Paul
%A Alfson, Jonathan W.
%A Gire, Elizabeth
%D August 1-2 2018
%T Student Sense Making about Equipotential Graphs
%B Physics Education Research Conference 2018
%C Washington, DC
%S PER Conference
%8 August 1-2
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14780&DocID=4927


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The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

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