Using resource graphs to model reasoning in physics

Michael Wittmann

University of Maine

April 27, 2007, 2:00 PM
ARC 204

Physics education researchers have many valuable ways of describing student reasoning while learning physics. One can describe the correct physics and look at specific student difficulties, though that doesn't quite address the issue of how the latter develops into the former. A recent model (building on work by A.A. diSessa and D. Hammer) is to use resource graphs, which are networks of connected small-scale ideas that describe reasoning about a specific physics topic in a specific physics context. The representation describes several well documented forms of conceptual change and suggests others. We use resource graphs to describe content knowledge or the ideas in play when working through a problem. We draw resource graphs of correct physics reasoning and also use resource graphs to describe common issues in how students reason about seemingly very different topics, such as vector subtraction and the choice of signs in a differential equation.

Last modified: Tue Apr 17 14:20:09 2007