This is a public talk as part of the annual UBC Physics and Astronomy Education Research Group's Open Retreat.

Abstract: Physicists need ways to evaluate our solutions to the problems we consider – the universe has no solution manual! This “solution evaluation” is just one aspect of physics sensemaking. To help students become more powerful physics sensemakers and build a habit of evaluating their solutions, my research team has developed an intermediate mechanics course for sophomore-level physics majors that has an explicit focus on physics sensemaking, particularly solution evaluation. The strategies we emphasize include: thinking about mathematical and physical “beasts,” considering special cases, and thinking about the covariational behavior of functions. I will describe how we’ve been thinking about evaluative sensemaking, some of the instructional strategies we’ve used the course, and some of our research about the ways students evaluate algebraic solutions to physics problems. We find that the variety of ways students make sense of algebraic answers to physics problems is dizzying, even when we suggest specific strategies to try.

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2019-05-10T11:00:002019-05-10T12:30:00How do you teach students to evaluate their answers to physics problems?Event Information:
This is a public talk as part of the annual UBC Physics and Astronomy Education Research Group's Open Retreat.
Abstract: Physicists need ways to evaluate our solutions to the problems we consider – the universe has no solution manual! This “solution evaluation” is just one aspect of physics sensemaking. To help students become more powerful physics sensemakers and build a habit of evaluating their solutions, my research team has developed an intermediate mechanics course for sophomore-level physics majors that has an explicit focus on physics sensemaking, particularly solution evaluation. The strategies we emphasize include: thinking about mathematical and physical “beasts,” considering special cases, and thinking about the covariational behavior of functions. I will describe how we’ve been thinking about evaluative sensemaking, some of the instructional strategies we’ve used the course, and some of our research about the ways students evaluate algebraic solutions to physics problems. We find that the variety of ways students make sense of algebraic answers to physics problems is dizzying, even when we suggest specific strategies to try.Event Location:
Orchard 1001