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When presented with a question, students activate a set of knowledge, or schema, that they use to respond to the question. For many instructors, one of the goals of the introductory physics course is to help students build robust schemas of formal knowledge that are activated for a given task. In this paper, we present evidence that suggests that even when schemas of formal knowledge are formed, students often struggle to activate this knowledge. We focus on the analysis of interviews with two introductory physics students concerning the topic of dynamics. We also demonstrate that the act of explaining, during the interview, has a profound impact on the students' responses.
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