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Linking facts with judgment: a critical thinking component in introductory calculus physics for engineering students

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2017 Mid-Atlantic Section Fall Conference


Penn State University - Berks Campus - Reading, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

October 6, 2017

Start Date

October 6, 2017

End Date

October 7, 2017

Conference Session

Mid Atlantic Papers

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Mid-Atlantic Section Fall Conference

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Paper Authors


Tak Cheung CUNY Queensborough Community College

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Tak Cheung, Ph.D., professor of physics, teaches in CUNY Queensborough Community College. He also conducts research and mentors student research projects.

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Vazgen Shekoyan Queensborough Community College

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Dr. Vazgen Shekoyan is a professor of physics and his experiences include pedagogy, CubeSat, etc.

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sunil Dehipawala Queensborough Community College

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Sunil Dehipawala received his B.S. degree from University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka and Ph.D from City University of New York. Currently, he is working as a faculty member at Queensborough Community College of CUNY.

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George Tremberger Jr Queensborough Community College

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Critical thinking has been summarized as an objective analysis of facts with judgment in popular open access platforms such as Wikipedia. The problem solving skill in terms of algebra and calculus are often perceived as facts by students with the necessity of memorization, while the judgment learning for engineering students includes extensions to other examples with the linking of the known facts and the given information. An E&M example is discussed as the following. The vector cross product embedded within the Biot Savart law could be solved with trigonometry given the underlying symmetry and/or with the 3-dim vector notion system. The judgment for applying the vector notion system is beneficial when it comes to the asymmetry Biot Savart law situation of a straight current-carrying wire and a current loop, acting a precursor to the conceptual understanding of magnetic reconnection at introductory calculus physics level.

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