Senior Thesis Presentation
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - 14:00
Weniger 379
Event Speaker: 
Grant Sherer
Local Contact: 

One source of difficulty for students in Thermodynamics courses is their unfamiliarity with partial derivatives and the associated mathematical procedures. At Oregon State University, a mechanical analogue of thermodynamic systems, called the Partial Derivative Machine (PDM), has been designed. The PDM represents an attempt to make the mathematics of partial derivatives more accessible to students by not simultaneously introducing new physical concepts from thermodynamics, such as Entropy. The Interlude session associated with the upper-division thermodynamics course at Oregon State University introduces the mathematical techniques using this new learning tool, the Partial Derivative Machine. Using the Actor Oriented Transfer perspective this research examines the transfer of skills and knowledge developed with the Partial Derivative Machine in this intensive mathematical session to new physical contexts in the Energy and Entropy course and new physical contexts. Students from the course were recorded both in class and in recorded problem solving sessions to observe instances of transfer.