Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Date of Defense

11-9-2017

Graduate Advisor

Keith W. Miller

Committee

Charles Granger

Cody Ding

Gualtiero Piccinini

Abstract

Prior to instruction, students often possess a common-sense view of motion, which is inconsistent with Newtonian physics. Effective physics lessons therefore involve conceptual change. To provide a theoretical explanation for concepts and how they change, the triangulation model brings together key attributes of prototypes, exemplars, theories, Bayesian learning, ontological categories, and the causal model theory. The triangulation model provides a theoretical rationale for why coding is a viable method for physics instruction. As an experiment, thirty-two adolescent students participated in summer coding academies to learn how to design Newtonian simulations. Conceptual and attitudinal data was collected using the Force Concept Inventory and the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey. Results suggest that coding is an effective means for teaching Newtonian physics.

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