Student Difficulties With Wave Concepts

Michael C. Wittmann

Physics Education Research Group, UMD

18 Sep 97

This file has been exported from PowerPoint to html through the use of Microsoft's Internet Assistant. You can view the files either in text mode (where you can't see the graphics, of which there are many) or in graphic mode, slide by slide. Sorry if the font is small on the graphics. You might have to change your monitor size to read it properly.

Any comments or questions should please be forwarded to Michael Wittmann. Thanks. Enjoy!

Title Slide: Student Difficulties with Wave Concepts




Model for Physics Education Research

The Prerequisites of QM

Research Questions

Research Setting

Research Methods

Student Difficulties with Wave Propagation and Wave Superposition

Wave Propagation Interviews (N=24)

Common Student Responses

Multiple-Choice Multiple-Response (MCMR) Exam Problem

Distribution of Student Responses

Wave Superposition: Question 1

Correct Response

Common Incorrect Responses

Wave Superposition: Question 2

Common Incorrect Response

Student Mental Models of Waves

Mental Models

Common Student Mental Models: Particle Pulses MM

Common Student Mental Models: Energy/Mass MM

Consequences of these models

Student Use of Mental Models in More Advanced Topics

Particle Pulses Mental Model of the Mathematics of Waves

Pulse Shape: Correct Response

Common Incorrect Response

Common Student Equations

Student Use of MM in Mathematics

Particle Pulses Mental Model of Sound Waves

Correct Response

Case Study Example:

Alex's Description of Wave

Summary of Alex's Interpretation

Changing Frequency or Volume

Pretests and Diagnostic Tests

Pre and Post-Traditional Instruction Descriptions of Dust Particle Motion

Pre and Post-Traditional Instruction Descriptions of Candle Flame Motion

Research-Based Curriculum

Post Instruction Interviews

Pre/Post Comparison of


Model for Continuing Research