Campus Units

Physics and Astronomy

Document Type

Article

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date

10-2009

Journal or Book Title

American Journal of Physics

Volume

77

Issue

10

First Page

907

Last Page

917

DOI

10.1119/1.3167357

Abstract

We report on students’ thinking regarding entropy in an introductory calculus-based physics course. We analyzed students’ responses to a variety of questions on entropy changes of an arbitrarily defined system and its surroundings. In four offerings of the same course we found that before instruction, no more than 6% of all students could give completely correct responses to relevant questions posed in both general and concrete contexts. Nearly two-thirds of the students showed clear evidence of conservation-type reasoning regarding entropy. These outcomes were little changed even after instruction. Targeted instruction that guided students to recognize that entropy is not a conserved quantity appears to yield improved performance on qualitative questions related to this concept.

Comments

This article is from American Journal of Physics 77 (2009): 907, doi:10.1119/1.3167357. Posted with permission.

Rights

This article is used in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Copyright Owner

American Association of Physics Teachers

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

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