Using qualitative problem-solving strategies to highlight the role of conceptual knowledge in solving problems

William J. Leonard, Robert J. Dufresne, Jose Mestre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We report on the use of qualitative problem-solving strategies in teaching an introductory, calculus-based physics course as a means of highlighting the role played by conceptual knowledge in solving problems. We found that presenting strategies during lectures and in homework solutions provides an excellent opportunity to model for students the type of concept-based, qualitative reasoning that is valued in our profession, and that student-generated strategies serve a diagnostic function by providing instructors with insights on students' conceptual understanding and reasoning. Finally, we found strategies to be effective pedagogical tools for helping students both to identify principles that could be applied to solve specific problems, as well as to recall the major principles covered in the course months after it was over.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1495-1503
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Volume64
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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