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Abstract Title: Sensemaking as exploiting affordances in the problem space
Abstract: Physics problem solving requires navigation of an interconnected web of elements in a problem space, which includes physical and mathematical principles and ideas. We propose that "sensemaking during problem solving" means seeking out, establishing, and exploiting connections between the elements of the problem space that afford solutions.  This sensemaking framework adequately describes current characterizations of problem solving, but, more importantly, expands the focus of research in problem-solving sensemaking in two ways.  First, this framework can capture other types of connections not well-described by established problem-solving protocols. Second, this framework brings focus to the process of sensemaking, not just the outcomes of sensemaking. That is, learning how to sensemake means learning the process of how to seek out and recognize new kinds of affordances in complex problem spaces.  We close by discussing the implications of this framework for instruction and future research.
Abstract Type: Symposium Talk
Parallel Session: Making Sense of Physics Sensemaking
Parallel Session: Parallel Sessions Cluster II

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Eric Kuo
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA
and Co-Presenter(s)
Andrew Elby, University of Maryland
Ayush Gupta, University of Maryland
Michael M. Hull, University of Vienna