Instructional Support for Improving Students’ Planning Skills to Solve Physics Problems


Deep analysis on students’ cognition (i.e. mental representation in solving Physics problem) is crucial to develop tool to support learning. In this paper, we describe a study of how students plan and solve Physics introductory mechanics problems. In the study, students were given several Physics problems to solve, with varying level of difficulties. For each problem given, students were asked (1) to identify eight categories of information related to the problem (i.e., known / unknown variables, principle, units, just to name a few), (2) to write out (plan) their solution steps, and finally (3) to solve the problem. Findings from the study showed that students’ problem solving process indicates that they have partial schema formation. These findings corroborate with the existing theory and claim of students’ fragile knowledge, mental representation, and partial schema development. Proposed computer-based instructional support is discussed based on the findings and research in Cognitive Science.

Author Information
Siti Soraya Abdul Rahman, University of Malaya, Malaysia
Rukaini Abdullah, University of Malaya, Malaysia

Paper Information
Conference: ACSET2014
Stream: Education and Technology: Teaching

This paper is part of the ACSET2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon