Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-2008

Abstract

The ability of adult students to reason on the basis of the control of variables was the subject of an extended investigation. This paper describes the part of the study that focused on the reasoning required to decide whether or not a given variable influences the behavior of a system. The participants were undergraduates taking introductory Physics and K-8 teachers studying physics and physical science in inservice institutes and workshops. Although most of the students recognized the need to control variables, many had significant difficulty with the underlying reasoning. The results indicate serious shortcomings in the preparation of future scientists and in the education of a scientifically literate citizenry. There are also strong implications for the professional development of teachers, many of whom are expected to teach control of variables to young students.

Publication Title

American Journal of Physics

Volume

76

Issue

2

First Page

163

Last Page

170

Required Publisher's Statement

2008 Copyright. American Association of Physics Teachers

American Journal of Physics 76, 163 (2008); doi: 10.1119/1.2805235

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Physics Commons

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