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Abstract Title: Research and Development of PhET Simulation-based Physics Tutorials
Abstract: Well-designed instructional simulations in the classroom can help students learn difficult concepts in an enjoyable way. The University of Colorado PhET simulations are some of the most widely used (15 million runs every year). We are investigating students' reasoning when working collaboratively on PhET simulations scaffolded by tutorial worksheets. We have developed a tutorial for the Gas Properties simulation for introductory physics students designed to solicit mechanistic reasoning about temperature and pressure in terms of molecular motion. However, in clinical and classroom settings, students working collaboratively on the tutorial used the ideal gas law to make predictions about situations in which an ideal gas is being compressed or heated and subsequently used the simulation to confirm their predictions. Many groups did not engage in discussing the temperature, pressure or work done in terms of the molecular motion. These results informed subsequent modifications. We will present preliminary results of our investigations.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Vijay Kaul
University of Maryland, College Park
Department of Physics
College Park, MD 20742
and Co-Presenter(s)
Ayush Gupta, Andrew Elby