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Abstract Title: Improving Student Understanding of Vector Fields in Junior-Level E&M
Abstract: The Physics Education Group at the University of Washington has been developing tutorials for the junior-level electrodynamics courses.  We have observed that most students enter these courses with a working knowledge of static electric and magnetic fields in simple systems.  However, these students have significant difficulties in transferring this knowledge to other vector fields or to more complex systems.  We first attempted to address these difficulties by having students draw analogies from basic static fields to new vector fields, but this strategy proved to be challenging for many students.  Our subsequent attempt focused on familiarizing students with how the vector derivatives describe the general behavior of vector fields.  This approach proved successful in enabling students to relate their knowledge of general vector fields to the behavior of newly introduced vector fields.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Bert Xue
University of Washington
11540 Pinehurst Way NE Apt 406
Seattle, WA 98125
Phone: 8179446461
and Co-Presenter(s)
Ryan LC Hazelton, University of Washington
Peter S Shaffer, University of Washington

Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster