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Open-ended problems in physics: Upper secondary technical program students’ ways of approaching outdoor physics problems
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study reports on technical program students’ approaches to solving open-ended problems during an introductory physics course in a Swedish upper secondary school. The study used case study methodology to investigate students’ activities in outdoor context. The findings come from observations and audio recordings of students solving three different open-ended problems. The results showed that the students had difficulties to formulate ‘solvable’ problems and to perform necessary ‘at home’ preparations to be able to solve the problems. Furthermore, students preferred to use a single solution method even though different solution methods were possible. This behavior can be attributed to their previous experience of solving practical problems in physics education. The result also indicated need of different levels of guidance to help the students in their problem solving process. A tentative conclusion can be made that open-ended problems have an educational potential for developing students’ understanding of scientific inquiry and problem solving strategies in the process of performing practical outdoor activities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 66 p.
Keyword [en]
case study, out-of-classroom context, problem solving, student difficulty
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-52486OAI: diva2:505464
Subject / course
Examensarbete för lärarexamen
Educational program
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2012-03-06 Created: 2012-02-22 Last updated: 2012-03-06Bibliographically approved

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