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Abstract Title: Helping physics majors evaluate their own answers to physics problems
Abstract: The universe has no solution manual and we physicists need ways of evaluating our own solutions to the problems we consider. This "solution evaluation" is just one aspect of physics sensemaking. To help students become more powerful physics sensemakers and build a habit of evaluating their solutions, we have developed an intermediate mechanics course for sophomore-level physics majors that has an explicit focus on physics sensemaking, particularly solution evaluation. We will discuss analysis of the ways students evaluate their own solutions and their evaluations of algebraic answers we provide. We find that our students have a dizzying variety of ways of making sense of algebraic answers to physics problems, even when we suggest specific strategies to try. Some of these strategies have two stages - a manipulation stage and a judgment stage. We find that students are quite proficient in making manipulations and need more support in making productive judgments.
Abstract Type: Symposium Talk
Parallel Session: Making Sense of Physics Sensemaking
Parallel Session: Parallel Sessions Cluster II

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Elizabeth Gire
Oregon State University
and Co-Presenter(s)
Paul Emigh, Oregon State University;
MacKenzie Lenz, Oregon State University;
Kelby Hahn, Oregon State University