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A report on a preliminary diagnostic for identifying thermal physics conceptions of tertiary students

Journal Article


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Abstract


  • A solid understanding of students’ conceptions in thermal physics is absolutely necessary for successful development of instruction and for promoting understanding of and enthusiasm for the subject. This study reports on student understanding for a range of thermal topics. The sample included first and second year university students studying physics and the tool was a short, 15 question, concept inventory-like ‘Diagnostic Survey’ administered at the beginning of first semester 2009 at the University of *****. The results indicate that some thermal physics misconceptions exist for a large proportion of tertiary level students. More specifically, basic concepts, such as heat transfer, appear to be systematically misunderstood by the more novice student. For Australian tertiary instructors, our preliminary diagnostic could provide information about student’s abilities in thermal physics and, consequently, why they experience difficulty understanding similarly structured fundamental processes in other physics topics. The subjects covered in our diagnostic are considered a foundation of any thermal physics course and are present in many further science related courses. Thermal topics such as atmospheric thermodynamics and climate change thermodynamics have lately appeared the popular headlines, strengthening the justification for at least a basic understanding of such topics from students studying physics at university.

Publication Date


  • 2010

Citation


  • Georgiou, H. & Sharma, M. D. (2010). A report on a preliminary diagnostic for identifying thermal physics conceptions of tertiary students. International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, 18 (2), 32-51.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-78650828011

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3332&context=sspapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/sspapers/2331

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 19

Start Page


  • 32

End Page


  • 51

Volume


  • 18

Issue


  • 2

Place Of Publication


  • Australia

Abstract


  • A solid understanding of students’ conceptions in thermal physics is absolutely necessary for successful development of instruction and for promoting understanding of and enthusiasm for the subject. This study reports on student understanding for a range of thermal topics. The sample included first and second year university students studying physics and the tool was a short, 15 question, concept inventory-like ‘Diagnostic Survey’ administered at the beginning of first semester 2009 at the University of *****. The results indicate that some thermal physics misconceptions exist for a large proportion of tertiary level students. More specifically, basic concepts, such as heat transfer, appear to be systematically misunderstood by the more novice student. For Australian tertiary instructors, our preliminary diagnostic could provide information about student’s abilities in thermal physics and, consequently, why they experience difficulty understanding similarly structured fundamental processes in other physics topics. The subjects covered in our diagnostic are considered a foundation of any thermal physics course and are present in many further science related courses. Thermal topics such as atmospheric thermodynamics and climate change thermodynamics have lately appeared the popular headlines, strengthening the justification for at least a basic understanding of such topics from students studying physics at university.

Publication Date


  • 2010

Citation


  • Georgiou, H. & Sharma, M. D. (2010). A report on a preliminary diagnostic for identifying thermal physics conceptions of tertiary students. International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, 18 (2), 32-51.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-78650828011

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3332&context=sspapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/sspapers/2331

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 19

Start Page


  • 32

End Page


  • 51

Volume


  • 18

Issue


  • 2

Place Of Publication


  • Australia