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This paper, presented at the 2002 Physics Education Research Conference, discusses the authors' investigation of students' mental models of sound propagation in introductory physics classes. In addition to the scientifically accepted wave model, students used the "entity" model. The authors discuss how students use these models in various contexts before and after instruction. This study also indicates a clear pattern of model change due to instruction. Students who construct models often start with the entity model and generally progress through the hybrid or mixed model states before finishing in the wave model state.
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