AAPT Abstract Archive

Abstract Information

  Title: Uneven Development of Students' Reasoning Regarding Concepts in Thermal Physics*
  Location: Space 1
  Date: Monday, Jan. 23
  Time: 8:30 p.m.
  Author: David Meltzer,
515-292-1992, dem@physicseducation.net
  Co-Author(s): Warren M. Christensen, John R. Thompson
  Abstract: Our group has been engaged in an ongoing investigation of student learning in thermal physics for the past several years. We have probed students' reasoning about thermodynamics concepts in both introductory and advanced-level courses, and we have tried to trace the development of students' understanding as they progress through their studies. Here we will compare introductory- and advanced-students' thinking on concepts such as entropy and the first and second laws of thermodynamics. We will attempt to draw a preliminary picture of the uneven trajectory along which students' reasoning about these topics evolves.
  Footnotes: *Supported in part by NSF DUE-9981140 and PHY-0406724

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