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Comparing the Effectiveness of Three Unique Research Based Tutorials for Introducing Newtons Second

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Title: Comparing the Effectiveness of Three Unique Research Based Tutorials for Introducing Newtons Second


1
Comparing the Effectiveness ofThree Unique
Research BasedTutorials for IntroducingNewtons
Second Law
  • Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the
    Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science
    in Teaching
  • Mindi Kvaal Anderson
  • May 19, 2009

2
Acknowledgments
  • Committee
  • Michael Wittmann Advisor
  • Warren Christensen
  • Eric Pandiscio
  • Paul Wlodkowski
  • Others
  • Trevor Smith
  • Katrina Black
  • Jeff Hawkins

3
Newtons Second Law
  • ?Fma

4
Newtons Second Law
  • ?Fma
  • The Major Ideas

5
Newtons Second Law
  • ?Fma
  • The Major Ideas
  • Acceleration as change in motion caused by the
    net force of an object

6
Newtons Second Law
  • ?Fma
  • The Major Ideas
  • Acceleration as change in motion caused by the
    net force of an object
  • Superposition of forces

7
Student Difficulties with NSL
  • Students cannot identify forces on at rest
    objects (Minstrell 1982)
  • Students confuse velocity and acceleration
    (Trowbridge and McDermott 1981)
  • Students associate force with velocity not
    acceleration (Thornton 1998)
  • Students believe constant force is required for
    constant motion (Dykstra 2002)

8
Tutorials in Introductory Physics
  • University of Washington (TIP)
  • Investigate the at rest condition and uses free
    body diagrams
  • Resolve difficulties tutorial

9
Activity Based Tutorial
  • University of Maryland (ABT)
  • Investigates velocity and acceleration using
    frictionless carts and computer graph outputs
  • Resolve difficulties tutorials

10
Open Source Tutorial
  • University of Maryland (OST)
  • Investigates velocity in a vertical motion
    situation
  • Refine intuitions tutorial

11
Research Question
  • Does the manner in which Newtons Second Law is
    introduced affect student learning outcomes?

12
Research Setting
  • PHY 111 Fall 2008
  • Tutorials twice weekly
  • Split into 3 groups
  • 3 different NSL tutorials
  • Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation Pre and
    Post-Test
  • Final Examination Question

Thornton and Sokoloff (1998)
13
The FMCE
  • 47 question multiple choice questionnaire probes
    Newtonian thinking
  • Analyze in 7 clusters
  • 4 clusters involve NSL
  • Force Sled
  • Reversing Direction
  • Force Graphs
  • Acceleration Graphs

Smith Wittmann (2009)
14
Final Examination Question
  • 3 part question
  • At rest condition (TIP tutorial)
  • Motion with acceleration (ABT tutorial)
  • Motion without acceleration (OST tutorial)

15
Final Examination Question Dropped
  • Results inconclusive
  • All groups performed poorly
  • No significant difference between groups
  • Final examination results not used for analysis

16
Summary of All FMCE Data
  • 72 matched data points
  • TIP 16
  • ABT 34
  • OST 22
  • Normalized gain

17
FMCE Misconception Pattern
  • Constant velocity requires constant force
  • (Consistent answers to FMCE 2, 14, 17)

18
FMCE Misconception Example
__2. Which force would keep the sled moving
toward the right at a steady
(constant) velocity?
19
FMCE Misconception Example
__2. Which force would keep the sled moving
toward the right at a steady
(constant) velocity?
Constant velocity requires constant force
20
FMCE Misconception Example
__2. Which force would keep the sled moving
toward the right at a steady
(constant) velocity?
Correct application of NSL
21
FMCE Misconception Pattern
  • Constant acceleration requires changing force
  • (Consistent answers to FMCE 1, 4, 16)

22
FMCE Misconception Example
__1. Which force would keep the sled moving
toward the right and speeding up at a
steady rate (constant acceleration)?
23
FMCE Misconception Example
__1. Which force would keep the sled moving
toward the right and speeding up at a
steady rate (constant acceleration)?
Constant acceleration requires changing force
24
FMCE Misconception Example
__1. Which force would keep the sled moving
toward the right and speeding up at a
steady rate (constant acceleration)?
Correct application of NSL
25
Groups Identical Before Instruction
26
Does 1 Hour of Tutorial Make a Difference?
27
Possibly
28
Overall Gains
  • Significant differences
  • TIP tutorial performed better than ABT
  • TIP gains significant

29
Force Sled Cluster
  • Significant differences
  • TIP tutorial performed better than ABT
  • TIP gains significant

30
Reversing Direction Cluster
  • No significant differences
  • No significant gains by any tutorial group.

31
Force Graphs Cluster
  • No significant differences
  • 50 of 72 students had gains of zero
  • TIP group, 5/16 had gains

32
Acceleration Graphs Cluster
  • No significant differences
  • 37 of 72 students had gains of zero

33
Summary
  • TIP group had the largest gains both overall and
    in all four NSL clusters.
  • In only 2 cases were those gains significantly
    different from either the ABT or OST groups.

34
Conclusion
  • Students whose tutorial focused on the at rest
    condition showed slightly betterlearning gains
    on the FMCE
  • Confounding Factors that underlies data
  • Sample size
  • Tutorial homework
  • TA preparation
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