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Abstract Title: Challenges with proposing causes for unexpected experimental results
Abstract: Models are representations used to explain and predict experimental results and observations. When students encounter discrepancies between the actual versus expected behavior of a system, they revise their models to include the newly acquired observations. The Modeling Framework For Experimental Physics (MFEP) describes the iterative process of matching measurements and observations to models, and the process of making revisions to undertake to resolve discrepancies. We used the MFEP to develop and code think-aloud problem-solving (TAPS) interviews centered on troubleshooting an inverting amplifying circuit out of its operation limits. We observed that a few of our participants will iteratively and continuously conduct diagnostic measurements and revisions if they are unable to immediately propose a cause for an observed discrepancy. In this paper, I discuss two episodes where students undergo this process to converge on a proposed cause. One student converges on a phenomenological description of the observed behavior, while the other reasons incorrectly even while revising their model adequately. I conclude by discussing implications for a modeling assessment, which I argue needs to be able to access the nuanced ways students approach resolving discrepancies.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session I
Poster Number: A74
Contributed Paper Record: Contributed Paper Information
Contributed Paper Download: Download Contributed Paper

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Laura RĂ­os
Department of Physics, CU Boulder/JILA
Department of Physics Duane Physics E1B3
2000 Colorado Ave
Boulder, CO 80309
and Co-Presenter(s)
Benjamin Pollard (Department of Physics, CU Boulder/JILA);
Dimitri R. Dounas-Frazer (Department of Physics, CU Boulder/JILA);
H.J. Lewandowski (Department of Physics, CU Boulder/JILA)