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Changing the notation that represents a force changes how students say it
written by Brant E. Hinrichs and Dayna M. Swanson
To facilitate both learning about forces and coordinating forces with the system schema, force symbols in University Modeling Instruction carefully represent forces as detailed descriptions of interactions. For example, FgE→B represents the gravitational force by Earth on a ball, where "g" represents gravitational (i.e. the type of interaction), "E" represents Earth, → represents "by" and "on", and "B" represents ball. Although students are taught to say FgE→B as "gravitational force", audio data from student-led whole-class discussions shows over 40% percent of the time FgE→B was referred to as "force gravity" instead. Symbols for contact force, such as FcH→B, were similarly referred to as "force contact" rather than "contact force" over 40% of the time. Because language plays a crucial role in learning physics, several years ago, as an experiment, the notation was changed from FgE→B to g  FE→B to make it more closely match how it is to be read. After this notation switch, student use of "force gravity" dropped to less than 2%, while use of "force contact" completely disappeared. While we make no claims that helping students read symbols more effectively facilitates their learning about forces, it is clear that the simple change in notation was extremely effective at solving the reading problem.
Physics Education Research Conference 2019
Part of the PER Conference series
Provo, UT: July 24-25, 2019
Pages 233-238
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https://doi.org/10.1119/perc.2019…
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This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the published article's author(s), title, proceedings citation, and DOI.
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American Association of Physics Teachers
DOI:
10.1119/perc.2019.pr.Hinrichs
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PERC 2019
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Metadata instance created January 7, 2020 by Lyle Barbato
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January 7, 2020 by Lyle Barbato
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January 7, 2020
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AIP Format
B. Hinrichs and D. Swanson, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2019, Provo, UT, 2019, WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15281&DocID=5193).
AJP/PRST-PER
B. Hinrichs and D. Swanson, Changing the notation that represents a force changes how students say it, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2019, Provo, UT, 2019, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15281&DocID=5193>.
APA Format
Hinrichs, B., & Swanson, D. (2019, July 24-25). Changing the notation that represents a force changes how students say it. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2019, Provo, UT. Retrieved October 29, 2020, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15281&DocID=5193
Chicago Format
Hinrichs, Brant, and Dayna M. Swanson. "Changing the notation that represents a force changes how students say it." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2019, Provo, UT, July 24-25, 2019. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15281&DocID=5193 (accessed 29 October 2020).
MLA Format
Hinrichs, Brant, and Dayna M. Swanson. "Changing the notation that represents a force changes how students say it." Physics Education Research Conference 2019. Provo, UT: 2019. 233-238 of PER Conference. 29 Oct. 2020 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15281&DocID=5193>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{ Author = "Brant Hinrichs and Dayna M. Swanson", Title = {Changing the notation that represents a force changes how students say it}, BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2019}, Pages = {233-238}, Address = {Provo, UT}, Series = {PER Conference}, Month = {July 24-25}, Year = {2019} }
Refer Export Format

%A Brant Hinrichs
%A Dayna M. Swanson
%T Changing the notation that represents a force changes how students say it
%S PER Conference
%D July 24-25 2019
%P 233-238
%C Provo, UT
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15281&DocID=5193
%O Physics Education Research Conference 2019
%O July 24-25
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Conference Proceedings
%A Hinrichs, Brant
%A Swanson, Dayna M.
%D July 24-25 2019
%T Changing the notation that represents a force changes how students say it
%B Physics Education Research Conference 2019
%C Provo, UT
%P 233-238
%S PER Conference
%8 July 24-25
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15281&DocID=5193


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