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Oral Thesis Defense – Evan Chase – April 3

March 25th, 2013
 

ORAL THESIS DEFENSE

MST Candidate
Evan Chase

Thesis Advisor: Dr. Michael C. Wittmann

An Abstract of the Thesis Presented
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Master of Science in Teaching

May, 2013

 INVESTIGATING PHYSICS STUDENTS’ SIMULTANEOUS USE OF GESTURES & SPEECH TO DESCRIBE MULTIPLE QUANTITIES OF A
VERTICALLY-TOSSED BALL

               While conversing, people typically produce hand gestures which can communicate additional information to the listener. To study how physics students use gestures in addition to their speech to explain a ball being tossed into the air, individual interviews were conducted with physics majors who had completed half of an eight-semester physics program at the University of Maine. These interviews conformed to the standards set by current qualitative education research. Students were asked to discuss kinematic quantities and forces associated with the motion of a ball thrown straight up, both with and without the force of air resistance. Video episodes were selected for detailed analysis which contained moments of students gesturing and speaking simultaneously, such that the referents of the speech and gesture did not appear to match. A more explicit methodology than that found in the current literature on gesture research in physics is defined. This methodology is used to show that these physics students were able to portray information about kinematics and force quantities simultaneously with gestures and speech, and in some cases were able to describe changes in one quantity with a hand and another quantity with the fingers on the same hand.

 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013
8:30 a.m.
Arthur St. John Hill Auditorium, ESRB
165 Barrows Hall

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