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2006 Summer Meeting — Syracuse, NY
July 22-26, 2006
Celebrating AAPT's 75th Anniversary

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Sessions and Events w/Abstracts

Date: Monday, July 24

Total Number of Records Found: 1


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Student Thinking Regarding Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
  Location: HBC Gifford
  Date: Monday, July 24
  Time: 8:30 a.m.
  Author: Warren M Christensen, Iowa State University
  Co-Author(s): David E Meltzer
  Abstract: In our ongoing investigation into student understanding of thermal physics in an introductory calculus-based course, we continue to probe student ideas regarding entropy and the second law of thermodynamics. Nearly 90% of students enrolled in the class have had previous exposure to thermodynamics concepts in chemistry and/or high school physics courses, so many have specific ideas about these concepts before instruction begins. We will present free-response and multiple-choice data collected both pre- and post-instruction from the previous four semesters. Evidence suggests that with some key concepts, e.g., that the entropy of the universe increases for all non-ideal processes, modified instruction with research-based materials may have yielded significant learning gains. However, many student ideas remain resistant to change despite the modified instruction.
  Footnotes: Supported in part by NSF grants DUE-#9981140 and PHY-#0406724.
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