The Math and Science Learning and Education (MSLE) Consortium will meet on the first Tuesday of the month from 11am-12pm in SI 4127. On occasion, invited speakers may be scheduled outside this timeframe to accommodate special interests. Following is a summary of upcoming events that should be of interest to MSLE members:
Leann Doughty, Michigan State University
Investigating Students’ Use of Mathematical Tools in Physics
Wednesday, October 7 in LSC 745
Across STEM fields we frequently use math to model phenomenon and make predictions. Learning to use sophisticated math tools is therefore a core element of a student’s preparation in all STEM disciplines. This is especially true in physics where, as students progress through their course sequence, physical models and the math required to interpret and use these models become increasingly complex. My research focuses on investigating how students understand and use math tools in their physics courses using two different approaches. One approach focuses on analyzing written responses to specifically designed tasks to identify difficulties students have using specific math tools. The other approach examines students’ in-the-moment reasoning through the analysis of video recordings of students group problem-solving. The analysis of in-situ data facilitates insight into how students decide to use certain math tools and the ideas they consider while using them. This talk will discuss these two approaches, and present results and implications from both.