Examining the relationship between physics students' spatial skills and conceptual understanding of Newtonian mechanics

Aaron MacRaighne, Avril Behan, Gavin Duffy, Stephanie Farrell, Rachel Harding, Robert Howard, Edmund Nevin, Brian Bowe

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

One of the primary motivating factors of physics educators is to ensure a high level of conceptual understanding is achieved by their students. Furthermore it has been shown that success in physics and engineering courses is strongly related to students' spatial skills. Conceptual and spatial skills tests have been independently developed and reported in the literature as a measure of each of these competencies. In this study we examine correlations between spatial skills and conceptual understanding using two of these tests in order to determine the relationship, if any, between students' conceptual understanding of Newtonian mechanics and their spatial skills. Spatial skills and Conceptual understanding of physics are tested using the Purdue Spatial Visualisation Test of Rotations (PSVT:R) and the Force Motion Concept Evaluation (FMCE) respectively. Correlations between PSVT:R and FCME scores are presented along with significant gender biases in both test scores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event6th Research in Engineering Education Symposium: Translating Research into Practice, REES 2015 - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: Jul 13 2015Jul 15 2015

Other

Other6th Research in Engineering Education Symposium: Translating Research into Practice, REES 2015
Country/TerritoryIreland
CityDublin
Period7/13/157/15/15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Engineering(all)

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