Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics
written by
Shih-Yin Lin, Alexandru Maries, and Chandralekha Singh
We investigate introductory physics students' difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations and the effect of scaffolding on students' performance. We gave a typical problem that can be solved using Gauss's law involving a spherically symmetric charge distribution (a conducting sphere concentric with a conducting spherical shell) to 95 calculus-based introductory physics students. We asked students to write a mathematical expression for the electric field in various regions and asked them to graph the electric field. We knew from previous experience that students have great difficulty in graphing the electric field. Therefore, we implemented two scaffolding interventions to help them. Students who received the scaffolding support were either (1) asked to plot the electric field in each region first (before having to plot it as a function of distance from the center of the sphere) or (2) asked to plot the electric field in each region after explicitly evaluating the electric field at the beginning, mid and end points of each region. The comparison group was only asked to plot the electric field at the end of the problem. We found that students benefited the most from intervention (1) and that intervention (2), although intended to aid students, had an adverse effect. Also, recorded interviews were conducted with a few students in order to understand how students were impacted by the aforementioned interventions.
Physics Education Research Conference 2012
Part of the PER Conference series Philadelphia, PA: August 1-2, 2012 Volume 1513, Pages 250-253
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Record Link
<a href="https://www.compadre.org/portal/items/detail.cfm?ID=12826">Lin, S, A. Maries, and C. Singh. "Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2012, Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012.</a>
AIP Format
S. Lin, A. Maries, and C. Singh, , presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2012, Philadelphia, PA, 2012, WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12826&DocID=3359).
AJP/PRST-PER
S. Lin, A. Maries, and C. Singh, Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2012, Philadelphia, PA, 2012, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12826&DocID=3359>.
APA Format
Lin, S., Maries, A., & Singh, C. (2012, August 1-2). Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2012, Philadelphia, PA. Retrieved December 4, 2023, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12826&DocID=3359
Chicago Format
Lin, S, A. Maries, and C. Singh. "Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2012, Philadelphia, PA, August 1-2, 2012. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12826&DocID=3359 (accessed 4 December 2023).
MLA Format
Lin, Shih-Yin, Alexandru Maries, and Chandralekha Singh. "Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics." Physics Education Research Conference 2012. Philadelphia, PA: 2012. 250-253 Vol. 1513 of PER Conference. 4 Dec. 2023 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12826&DocID=3359>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{
Author = "Shih-Yin Lin and Alexandru Maries and Chandralekha Singh",
Title = {Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics},
BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2012},
Pages = {250-253},
Address = {Philadelphia, PA},
Series = {PER Conference},
Volume = {1513},
Month = {August 1-2},
Year = {2012}
}
Refer Export Format
%A Shih-Yin Lin %A Alexandru Maries %A Chandralekha Singh %T Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics %S PER Conference %V 1513 %D August 1-2 2012 %P 250-253 %C Philadelphia, PA %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12826&DocID=3359 %O Physics Education Research Conference 2012 %O August 1-2 %O application/pdf
EndNote Export Format
%0 Conference Proceedings %A Lin, Shih-Yin %A Maries, Alexandru %A Singh, Chandralekha %D August 1-2 2012 %T Student difficulties in translating between mathematical and graphical representations in introductory physics %B Physics Education Research Conference 2012 %C Philadelphia, PA %V 1513 %P 250-253 %S PER Conference %8 August 1-2 %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12826&DocID=3359 Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.
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