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Full-Text Articles in Education

Learning Science: Physical And Life Sciences In Curricula Across U.S. Schools Of Nursing, Valerie C. Sauda May 2019

Learning Science: Physical And Life Sciences In Curricula Across U.S. Schools Of Nursing, Valerie C. Sauda

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Nursing educators are being challenged to provide curriculum that meets the changing healthcare environment and demand for creative, innovative nurses to assist in transforming healthcare into the future (Benner, Sutphen, Leonard, & Day, 2010; Institute Of Medicine, 2011). The liberal education provided within a baccalaureate of science in nursing (BSN) degree program provides a diversity of courses within the curriculum, including courses in the natural, physical, mathematical, and social sciences (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2008). Although nursing programs have included science courses in curriculum since the early 1900s (Nutting & Dock, 1907), there is lack of nursing educational research as to ...


Using Question Variations To Access Alternate Student Thinking About The Same Physical Situations, Jeffrey Mathis Hawkins May 2019

Using Question Variations To Access Alternate Student Thinking About The Same Physical Situations, Jeffrey Mathis Hawkins

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Assessing students’ understanding of physics is a critical element for improving physics education. This dissertation presents and demonstrates a method to better assess student understanding of physics by varying the types of questions asked of students. The method presented herein, which is based on the Specific Difficulties and Resources frameworks, involves modifying the task students are asked to complete when analyzing the physics of a particular physical situation. Creating question variations that ask students to address a particular correct or incorrect outcome of the physical situation, eliminate an incorrect outcome, or justify a correct outcome provided to them can provide ...


Understanding Student Development Of Science Literacy Skills In An Undergraduate Environmental Science Course, Molly Picillo Aug 2018

Understanding Student Development Of Science Literacy Skills In An Undergraduate Environmental Science Course, Molly Picillo

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Educators are expected to instill a variety of skills in their students that are necessary to be competent citizens of society. One such set of skills, science literacy skills, broadly encompass the ability of an individual to evaluate reliability of data and information and critically analyze and interpret them (Gormally Brickman, Hallar, & Armstrong, 2009). These skills are utilized in everyday decision-making and given their pertinence, there is a need for citizens to be scientifically literate. Thus, educators need tools and assessments to help students develop these skills and analyze their science literacy. The aim of this study was to develop science literacy interventions that could be easily incorporated into college curricula, providing instructors with exemplars of classroom interventions with the intent to improve students’ science literacy skills. Therefore, the broad research question for this investigation was: How do science literacy interventions impact student proficiency in science literacy skills in college general education courses? I measured effectiveness of the interventions using the Test of Science Literacy Skills (TOSLS, Gormally Brickman, & Lutz, 2012) pre- and post-survey scores, as well as student feedback from pre- and post-survey, follow-up interviews. The TOSLS surveys were given as part of a participation grade to students in a general education undergraduate college course (n = 148). A subset of students volunteered to be interviewed regarding specific questions from the TOSLS survey, after both the pre-survey (n = 12) and the post-survey (n = 5), to further investigate student understanding and interpretation. Interventions were designed by modifying previous assignments from earlier years’ offerings of the class and were conducted both during class and outside of class as homework extensions. These interventions were created by evaluating scores and interviews on the TOSLS survey deployed as a pilot study in a previous semester of the undergraduate course. Based on these pilot data, four survey questions encompassing different science literacy skills of particular difficulty were targeted for intervention. The interventions were: (1) An interactive clicker-based lesson involving graph selection methods; (2) Data summits involving graph interpretation and source evaluation; and (3) A role-play after which students discussed sources of bias.

Although the results indicated no statistically significant changes in the average scores between the pre-survey and post-survey (t test, p = 0.82, α = 0.05), interviewed students recalled ...


Investigating Student Understanding Of Vector Calculus In Upper-Division Electricity And Magnetism: Construction And Determination Of Differential Element In Non-Cartesian Coordinate Systems, Benjamin Schermerhorn May 2018

Investigating Student Understanding Of Vector Calculus In Upper-Division Electricity And Magnetism: Construction And Determination Of Differential Element In Non-Cartesian Coordinate Systems, Benjamin Schermerhorn

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Differential length, area, and volume elements appear ubiquitously over the course of upper-division electricity and magnetism (E&M), used to sum the effects of or determine expressions for electric or magnetic fields. Given the plethora of tasks with spherical and cylindrical symmetry, non-Cartesian coordinates are commonly used, which include scaling factors as coefficients for the differential terms to account for the curvature of space. Furthermore, the application to vector fields means differential lengths and areas are vector quantities. So far, little of the education research in E&M has explored student understanding and construction of the non-Cartesian differential elements used in applications of vector calculus. This study contributes to the research base on the learning and teaching of these quantities.

Following course observations of junior-level E&M, targeted investigations were conducted to categorize student understanding of the properties of these differentials as they are constructed in a coordinate system without a physics context and as they are determined within common physics tasks. In general, students did not have a strong understanding of the geometry of non-Cartesian coordinate systems. However, students who were able to construct differential area and volume elements as a product of differential lengths within a given coordinate system were more successful when applying vector calculus. The results of this study were used to develop preliminary instructional resources to aid in the teaching of this material.

Lastly, this dissertation presents a theoretical model developed within the context of this study to describe students’ construction and interpretation of equations. The model joins existing theoretical frameworks: symbolic forms, used to describe students’ representational understanding of the structure of the constructed equation; and conceptual blending, which has been used to describe the ways in which students combine mathematics and physics knowledge when problem solving. In addition to providing a coherent picture for how the students in this study connect contextual information to symbolic representations, this model is broadly applicable as an analytical lens and allows for a detailed reinterpretation of similar analyses using these frameworks.


Echoes Of The Past: The Effect Of Background Experience On Far Transfer, Graham H. Hummel-Hall May 2018

Echoes Of The Past: The Effect Of Background Experience On Far Transfer, Graham H. Hummel-Hall

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Far transfer is the application of knowledge learned in one setting to a problem in a very different setting. This multi-method study looked at far transfer in humans and whether it could be facilitated, inhibited, or remain unaffected by the number of courses or years a student at a university spent learning about the subject matter of the knowledge being transferred. Through quantitative and qualitative analysis of pretest and post-test data from an introductory undergraduate earth science course, I found that students with more physical science background experience more frequently engaged in successful and accurate transfer of physics information to ...


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 ...


An Inventory Of Student Recollections Of Their Past Misconceptions As A Tool For Improved Classroom Astronomy Instruction, Andrej Favia Aug 2014

An Inventory Of Student Recollections Of Their Past Misconceptions As A Tool For Improved Classroom Astronomy Instruction, Andrej Favia

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

My Ph.D. research is about examining the persistence of 215 common misconceptions in astronomy. Each misconception is based on an often commonlyheld incorrect belief by college students taking introductory astronomy. At the University of Maine, the course is taught in alternating semesters by Prof. Neil F. Comins and Prof. David J. Batuski.

In this dissertation, I examine the persistence of common astronomy misconceptions by the administration of a retrospective survey. The survey is a new instrument in that it permits the student to indicate either endorsement or rejection of each misconception at various stages in the student’s life ...


Student Application Of The Fundamental Theorem Of Calculus With Graphical Representations In Mathematics And Physics, Rabindra R. Bajracharya Aug 2014

Student Application Of The Fundamental Theorem Of Calculus With Graphical Representations In Mathematics And Physics, Rabindra R. Bajracharya

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

One mathematical concept frequently applied in physics is the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus (FTC). Mathematics education research on student understanding of the FTC indicates student difficulties with the FTC. Similarly, a few studies in physics education have implicitly indicated student difficulties with various facets of the FTC, such as with the definite integral and the area under the curve representation, in physics contexts. There has been no research on how students apply the FTC in graphically-based physics questions.

This study investigated student understanding of the FTC and its application to graphically-based problems. Our interest spans several aspects of the FTC ...


Identifying Productive Resources In Secondary School Students' Discourse About Energy, Benedikt Walter Harrer Dec 2013

Identifying Productive Resources In Secondary School Students' Discourse About Energy, Benedikt Walter Harrer

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

A growing program of research in science education acknowledges the beginnings of disciplinary reasoning in students’ ideas and seeks to inform instruction that responds productively to these disciplinary progenitors in the moment to foster their development into sophisticated scientific practice. This dissertation examines secondary school students’ ideas about energy for progenitors of disciplinary knowledge and practice. Previously, researchers argued that students’ ideas about energy were constrained by stable and coherent conceptual structures that conflicted with an assumed unified scientific conception and therefore needed to be replaced. These researchers did not attend to the productive elements in students’ ideas about energy ...


Identifying And Addressing Specific Student Difficulties In Advanced Thermal Physics, Trevor I. Smith Jan 2011

Identifying And Addressing Specific Student Difficulties In Advanced Thermal Physics, Trevor I. Smith

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

As part of an ongoing multi-university research study on student understanding of concepts in thermal physics at the upper division, I identified several student difficulties with topics related to heat engines (especially the Carnot cycle), as well as difficulties related to the Boltzmann factor. In an effort to address these difficulties, I developed two guided-inquiry worksheet activities (a.k.a. tutorials) for use in advanced undergraduate thermal physics courses. Both tutorials seek to improve student understanding of the utility and physical background of a particular mathematical expression. One tutorial focuses on a derivation of Carnot's theorem regarding the limit ...


Investigating Student Understanding Of Sound As A Longitudinal Wave, Earl C. Coombs Jan 2007

Investigating Student Understanding Of Sound As A Longitudinal Wave, Earl C. Coombs

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

The field of physics education research (PER) has highlighted the discrepancy between what is taught during traditional instruction in physics, and what students understand afterward. PER has also provided alternatives to traditional instruction that are research-based and have been shown to be more effective in bringing students’ level of understanding of physics more in line with that of the scientific community. One topic that has received attention is the propagation of sound. We confirmed that students in the introductory algebra-based and calculus-based physics courses at the University of Maine have difficulties with sound propagation similar to those documented by others ...


Investigating How Students Think About And Learn Quantum Physics: An Example From Tunneling, Jeffrey Todd Morgan May 2006

Investigating How Students Think About And Learn Quantum Physics: An Example From Tunneling, Jeffrey Todd Morgan

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Much of physics education research (PER) has focused on introductory courses and topics, with less research done into how students learn physics in advanced courses. Members of The University of Maine Physics Education Research Laboratory (PERL) have begun studying how students in advanced physics courses reason about classical mechanics, thermal physics, and quantum physics. Here, we describe an investigation into how students reason about quantum mechanical tunneling, and detail how those findings informed a portion of a curriculum development project. Quantum mechanical tunneling is a standard topic discussed in most modern physics and quantum physics courses. Understanding tunneling is crucial ...


Design, Implementation And Assessment Of An Earth Systems Science Course For Secondary Teachers, Jeffery C. Owen Jan 2003

Design, Implementation And Assessment Of An Earth Systems Science Course For Secondary Teachers, Jeffery C. Owen

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

In the fall of 2002 the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Maine piloted an innovative course developed as a core offering for the new Master of Science in Teaching program. A team of four instructors comprised of two Earth Sciences faculty and two science educators developed the course and implemented it with nine students- six in-service teachers and three pre-service teachers. The course addressed multiple needs of secondary teachers through the integration of instruction in curriculum design, pedagogy, assessment, and classroom-level educational research, and earth systems science content. The components of instruction taught in the course included ...


Grading The General Chemistry Laboratory: A Constructivist Approach., Barbara Stewart Jan 2001

Grading The General Chemistry Laboratory: A Constructivist Approach., Barbara Stewart

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Constructivist theories of learning posit that instructors cannot transfer their knowledge to students; students must actively construct their own understanding. The Inter-Chem-Net project uses technology and instrumentation to provide an individualized experience within the large general laboratory course, effectively establishing a constructivist methodology. A grading rubric was developed to communicate course expectations and provide an easy and reliable method of evaluating student work in the general chemistry laboratory. The grading rubric separates the learning outcomes into a checklist of skills associated with each particular grade. This checklist provides detailed feedback for individualized choices of experiments, a key component of the ...