Publication Type:

Contributed Talk


American Association of Physics Teachers Annual Summer Meeting, Remote via Underline (2021)


<p>From our experience teaching the spins-first Paradigms quantum mechanics course, students run into difficulties transitioning from discrete to continuous quantum systems. In computation, continuous structures like wavefunctions are necessarily discretized in order to be used in operations like numerical integration. Because of this feature, we believe that computation may naturally support the transition. Junior-level students at Oregon State University take a computational lab course where they numerically solve quantum mechanics problems by pair-programming in Python. This computational lab course is coordinated with the spins-first Paradigms course. We remotely interviewed six participants at the end of the courses. Participants completed a card-sorting task where they organized twenty cards with a variety of quantum mechanics content and representations. In this talk, we will discuss the ways participants organized this information, the overarching patterns, and the ways that students understand and coordinate discrete and continuous quantum systems.</p>