Using Plumbdads-Quarkles to examine student understanding of scientific practices

Document Type

Poster Session

Presentation Date

Summer 7-17-2013

Conference Name

Summer Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers

Conference Location

Portland, OR


Many of my colleagues have lamented students' inability to examine, analyze, and gain meaning from measured data. To examine student thinking, a hypothetical set of data was given to students relating the fictional quantities of plumbdads and quarkles. These two quantities were used rather than physically observable parameters so that students could not "gain insight" through Internet searches (Wikipedia, Google search, etc.) or through the index of a book. The developed exercise asks students a series of questions regarding the "collected data" and two researchers’ opinions about the same data.



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