Addressing Student Difficulties with Buoyancy Documents

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Addressing Student Difficulties with Buoyancy 

written by Doris J. Wagner, Sam Cohen, and Adam Moyer

This study is part of an ongoing effort to develop a diagnostic test assessing student understanding of fluids. In particular, this paper addresses a question involving density and buoyancy. The "five blocks" question, which asks students to predict the final location of blocks released from rest when submerged and explain their reasoning, has been administered to hundreds of students in three different introductory courses at Grove City College for the past four years. We used the common student responses to craft a multiple-select version of the five blocks problem in 2008. This paper will present the effects that changing workshop activities have had on student performance on the five block question.

Published November 11, 2009
Last Modified October 14, 2009

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