April 23, 2021
April 23, 2021
April 25, 2021
In undergraduate mechanics classes, students tend to struggle with the application of Newton’s Second Law to complex problems. When students in an undergraduate dynamics class were asked to use Newton’s Second Law to evaluate a concept question about pulleys, 40% of the students answered it correctly. The students were also asked two simpler, pre-test problems to evaluate their ability to apply Newton’s Second Law to less complex situations. Only 50% and 70% of students answered these two pre-test problems correctly. While this is better than the 40% of students who answered the complex pulley problem correctly, these numbers still show a large gap in students’ overall understanding. To address the low percentage of students who correctly answered the questions associated with Newton’s Second Law, we used a virtual inquiry-based learning activity (IBLA) involving pulleys. The goal of the IBLA is to increase student understanding through a series of questions that guide them to the correct understanding and application of Newton’s Second Law. The IBLA involved videos demonstrating different “cases” of modified Atwood machines. Each “case” asked for student predictions for how the system would accelerate and for free response explanations for their answers. We are currently in the process of analyzing the number of questions the students answered correctly and the thought processes behind their answers for each case. This will show us how the IBLA improved student performance and corrected flaws in student reasoning patterns. We expect the student performance in post-IBLA questions to be significantly higher than the student performance in the pre-IBLA questions.
Phillips, M. N., & Nevrly, M., & Self, B. P., & Ochotorena, M., & De Souza, N., & Rossman, E. W. (2021, April), Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Virtual Pulley Inquiry-Based Learning Activity on Increasing Student Understanding of Newton’s Second Law Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Pacific Southwest Conference - "Pushing Past Pandemic Pedagogy: Learning from Disruption", Virtual. https://peer.asee.org/38231
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