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Students taking introductory physics courses not only need to learn the fundamental concepts and to solve simple problems but also need to learn to approach more complex problems and to reason like scientists. Hypothetico-deductive reasoning is considered one of the most important types of reasoning employed by scientists. If-then logic allows students to test hypotheses and reject those that are not supported by testing experiments. Can we teach students to reason hypothetico-deductively and to apply this reasoning to problems outside of physics? This study investigates the development and transfer from physics to real life of hypothetico-deductive reasoning abilities by students enrolled in an introductory physics course at a large state university. The abilities include formulating hypotheses and making predictions concerning the outcomes of testing experiments. (The work was supported by NSF grant REC 0529065.)
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