Building conceptions and repairing misconceptions in student understanding of kinematic graphs : using student discourse in calculator based laboratories Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/nk322g88s

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  • The purpose of this study was to investigate teaching models that may aid in improving student's understanding of how to interpret graphs of kinematic variables. The teaching models that were considered incorporated the use of cooperative groups and calculator-based laboratory instruments, alone and in concert. The subjects used in this study were college students in integral calculus courses intended for students with a science or engineering background. Roschelle's Theory for Convergent Conceptual Change was used as a framework for describing the dynamics by which student discourse could result in improving student understanding of graphs of kinematic variables. A portion of Beichner's Test for Understanding Kinematics (TUG-K) was used as the pre- and post -test. The laboratory assignments used in this study were designed using a general treatment strategy for reconceptualization outlined by Dykstra et al. The investigation consisted of two parts: (1) student performance on the pre- and post-test were analyzed to compare the effectiveness of the teaching models incorporating the use of cooperative groups and calculator-based laboratory instruments, separately and in concert, and (2) analysis of student discourse when working in cooperative groups in calculator-based laboratory settings and traditional settings was performed to see if this type of discourse was a factor in changing in students' conceptions, and to examine any differences in student discourse in the two settings. Results of this study indicate that student-student discourse has a significant impact on student's conceptions of graphs of kinematic variables. Evidence was found that student's misconceptions were not only repaired but were also reinforced, and possibly built through student-student discourse. The results indicate that since student discourse can build misconceptions, this teaching strategy was less effective for improving student understanding of graphs of kinematic variables when it was not followed by a well organized classroom discussion led by the instructor giving students the opportunity to have misconceptions repaired.
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