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Using Contrasting Cases To Build Metacognitive Knowledge About The Impact Of Salient Distracting Features In Physics Problems, Thanh K. Le Aug 2017

Using Contrasting Cases To Build Metacognitive Knowledge About The Impact Of Salient Distracting Features In Physics Problems, Thanh K. Le

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Student reasoning on physics problems is often context dependent. A possible explanation is that salient distracting features (SDFs) in physics problems may cue students’ “spontaneous” reasoning. This cued reasoning is often accepted without question, even though it may be unproductive and may even preclude the use of relevant knowledge. One possible approach to address such reasoning difficulties is to strengthen students’ metacognitive skills, particularly their metacognitive knowledge. While metacognitive knowledge plays an important role in facilitating effective regulation, little is known about how to build student metacognitive knowledge. This dissertation explores the use of contrasting cases (e.g., a number ...


Contrast Dependent Knowledge Development In Contrast Supported Scientific Observation, Maura B. Foley Aug 2017

Contrast Dependent Knowledge Development In Contrast Supported Scientific Observation, Maura B. Foley

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Knowledge of contrasts between phenomena can influence how people think and reason about them, so learning contrasts is important in school science. Building knowledge through a process of construction is a common framework through which school science is taught. However, telling phenomena apart through differentiation also plays an important role in learning and may be underused as a teaching framework. An effective way to learn contrasts is to use them to perceptually differentiate similar-looking phenomena presented side-by-side. However, little is known about the persistence/usefulness of knowledge generated during perceptual differentiation over short periods of time and its usage in ...


Investigating Student Mental Models At The Intersection Of Mathematics And Physical Reasoning In Physics, Savannah E. Lodge-Scharff Aug 2017

Investigating Student Mental Models At The Intersection Of Mathematics And Physical Reasoning In Physics, Savannah E. Lodge-Scharff

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

A significant challenge in learning science and mathematics is coordinating different types of mental models, such as mathematical and physical mental models, that represent different aspects of a given phenomenon. This challenge is illustrated in the present study, in which we observed a small number of college students reasoning about forces as both physical and mathematical quantities as they reasoned about a physical system. Using video analysis of the students’ gesture and as they reasoned qualitatively and mathematically about the system, we documented the construction and coordination of participants’ mental models. We found that participants constructed mathematical mental models as ...


Assessing Students' Understanding Of Variability And Graph Interpretation Through An Authentic Science Investigation, William M. Schlager May 2017

Assessing Students' Understanding Of Variability And Graph Interpretation Through An Authentic Science Investigation, William M. Schlager

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

This thesis research combined efforts of two existing projects at the University of Maine in collaboration with the Schoodic Institute, the Acadia Learning Snowpack Project and the Maine Data Literacy Project. The Snowpack Project provided a context to explore student learning of variability and graphing skills by gathering data on snowfall and accumulation throughout the winter and using the data to ask and answer a scientific question. The Maine Data Literacy Project provided a framework and instruments for assessing students’ understanding of variability and graph interpretation skills.

The first goal of this research was to measure student learning about variability ...


Investigating Student Learning Of Analog Electronics, Kevin L. Van De Bogart May 2017

Investigating Student Learning Of Analog Electronics, Kevin L. Van De Bogart

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Instruction in analog electronics is an integral component of many physics and engineering programs, and is typically covered in courses beyond the first year. While extensive research has been conducted on student understanding of introductory electric circuits, to date there has been relatively little research on student learning of analog electronics in either physics or engineering courses. Given the significant overlap in content of courses offered in both disciplines, this study seeks to strengthen the research base on the learning and teaching of electric circuits and analog electronics via a single, coherent investigation spanning both physics and engineering courses.

This ...


Development Of An Active-Learning Lesson That Targets Student Understanding Of Population Growth In Ecology, Elizabeth Trenckmann May 2017

Development Of An Active-Learning Lesson That Targets Student Understanding Of Population Growth In Ecology, Elizabeth Trenckmann

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Integrating quantitative literacy skills into the undergraduate biology curriculum has been advocated as a way to better reflect the tools and practices used by scientists. One area where students often need and can develop quantitative skills is population ecology, and previous studies have shown that students often have conceptual difficulties in this area. The focus of this thesis project was to explore student thinking about population ecology and develop an in-class active-learning lesson that incorporates quantitative skills for use in large-enrollment undergraduate biology courses. The development of this lesson was guided by in depth reviews of literature, textbooks, and online ...