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PERC 2017 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Student Responses to Chain Rule Problems in Thermodynamics
Abstract: Students often struggle with the many partial derivatives used in the study of thermodynamics. This project explores how students respond to chain rule problems in an upper-level undergraduate thermodynamics course. This project's dataset is composed of anonymized student responses to two such problems. We used an emergent coding method to sort responses by solution method. Observed solution methods include variable and differential substitution, implicit differentiation, differential division, and chain rule diagrams. The change of students' solution methods between assignments was also observed. Responses were later analyzed to identify conceptual errors. Students make specific errors that provide insight into their lack of conceptual understanding of the solution methods.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Ian Founds
Oregon State University
2010 SW 3rd St. #38
Corvallis, OR 97333
Phone: 5412577328
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Corinne A. Manogue, Oregon State University
Paul J. Emigh, Oregon State University

Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster