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This preliminary study examines the impact of conceptual writing assignments on student understanding of two physics concepts. Writing assignments covered the concepts of Newton's Third Law and the impulse-momentum relationship and were given to students in both high school and college level introductory physics classes. The students in these classes along with students in classes taught in an identical fashion by the same instructors without the addition of writing assignments were tested on their conceptual understanding of the two content areas. The results of this initial study indicate that the efficacy of this approach varied with topic. This study further indicates that students' benefit from the writing assignments was independent of their writing ability.
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