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Sensemaking in special relativity: developing new intuitions
written by Kelby T. Hahn, Paul J. Emigh, and Elizabeth Gire
Special relativity is both exciting and challenging in that it requires developing new intuitions about relativistic situations. How can we help students make sense of special relativity when their intuitions are classical? This paper will discuss student sensemaking about special relativity in a sophomore-level course designed to explicitly teach and support physics sensemaking. The course particularly emphasizes two sensemaking strategies: visualization with spacetime diagrams and the development of rules of thumb. Rules of thumb, like "proper time is the shortest time," serve as footholds when solving problems in special relativity. Specifically, we present an analysis of students' use of rules of thumb in their written solutions to homework problems. We found that students draw upon time rules, length rules, and relativity rules to solve the Twin Paradox. We also discuss how rules of thumb fit with other theoretical constructs.
Physics Education Research Conference 2019
Part of the PER Conference series
Provo, UT: July 24-25, 2019
Pages 196-201
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Foundations
- Problem Solving
= Heuristics
= Representational Use
Education Practices
- Pedagogy
= Heuristics
Relativity
- Special Relativity
= Simultaneity
= Time Dilation
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Researchers
- application/pdf
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Mirror:
https://doi.org/10.1119/perc.2019…
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Free access
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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.
Rights Holder:
American Association of Physics Teachers
DOI:
10.1119/perc.2019.pr.Hahn
Keyword:
PERC 2019
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created January 2, 2020 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
January 6, 2020 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
January 6, 2020
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Record Link
AIP Format
K. Hahn, P. Emigh, and E. Gire, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2019, Provo, UT, 2019, WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15276&DocID=5187).
AJP/PRST-PER
K. Hahn, P. Emigh, and E. Gire, Sensemaking in special relativity: developing new intuitions, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2019, Provo, UT, 2019, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15276&DocID=5187>.
APA Format
Hahn, K., Emigh, P., & Gire, E. (2019, July 24-25). Sensemaking in special relativity: developing new intuitions. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2019, Provo, UT. Retrieved December 1, 2020, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15276&DocID=5187
Chicago Format
Hahn, K, P. Emigh, and E. Gire. "Sensemaking in special relativity: developing new intuitions." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2019, Provo, UT, July 24-25, 2019. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15276&DocID=5187 (accessed 1 December 2020).
MLA Format
Hahn, Kelby T., Paul Emigh, and Elizabeth Gire. "Sensemaking in special relativity: developing new intuitions." Physics Education Research Conference 2019. Provo, UT: 2019. 196-201 of PER Conference. 1 Dec. 2020 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15276&DocID=5187>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{ Author = "Kelby T. Hahn and Paul Emigh and Elizabeth Gire", Title = {Sensemaking in special relativity: developing new intuitions}, BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2019}, Pages = {196-201}, Address = {Provo, UT}, Series = {PER Conference}, Month = {July 24-25}, Year = {2019} }
Refer Export Format

%A Kelby T. Hahn
%A Paul Emigh
%A Elizabeth Gire
%T Sensemaking in special relativity: developing new intuitions
%S PER Conference
%D July 24-25 2019
%P 196-201
%C Provo, UT
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15276&DocID=5187
%O Physics Education Research Conference 2019
%O July 24-25
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Conference Proceedings
%A Hahn, Kelby T.
%A Emigh, Paul
%A Gire, Elizabeth
%D July 24-25 2019
%T Sensemaking in special relativity: developing new intuitions
%B Physics Education Research Conference 2019
%C Provo, UT
%P 196-201
%S PER Conference
%8 July 24-25
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15276&DocID=5187


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