Investigating First Year University Physics Students’ Ability to Integrate Algebraic and Kinematics Graphs
 
 
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Central University of Technology, Free State
Online publish date: 2018-03-21
Publish date: 2018-03-21
 
International Journal of Physics and Chemistry Education 2018;10(1):1–25
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ABSTRACT:
Background:
An important tool in the teaching and learning or study of physics is regarded as Mathematics. Mathematics as a “language of science”, and is an expected requirement for students to study physics (Redish, 2005). He furthers argues that physicists blend conceptual physics with mathematical skills and use them to solve and interpret equations and graphs. For instance, in kinematics, different aspects from mathematics such as knowledge of functions and the solving of equations are combined with physics concepts. Many introductory physics students perform poorly on the use of mathematical skills and interpretations of graphs in physics.

Material and methods:
The researcher used a mixed method approach, a quantitative and qualitative research method made of close-ended questionnaire and follow-up interviews. The study was conducted from available sample of first year physics students, aged mainly between 18 and 22 years at Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT).

Results:
The results of the investigation tend to indicate the deficiencies in the students’ mathematical conceptual knowledge as well as in the transfer of mathematical skills that they possess to solve kinematic equations and graphs

Conclusions:
New teaching approaches in the introductory physics, a pre-requite for all STEM studies were thus recommended to enhance student performance in this subject.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR:
Itumeleng Phage   
Central University of Technology, Free State, 20 President Brand Road, 9301 BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa
eISSN:1306-3049