Publication Type:





continuous, discrete, quantum, Quantum Mechanics, upper-division


<p>Institutions are teaching quantum mechanics with a “spins-first” more commonly, where students are first introduced to quantum mechanics with spin systems and later learn about systems with wavefunctions. We are studying the ideas that students have about discrete bases, continuous bases, and the ways that they connect the two. We interviewed six participants concurrently enrolled in a spins-first course and a computational lab course. The activity of the interview was a&nbsp; card sorting task. Participants organized twenty cards with a variety of quantum mechanics concepts and notations including Dirac notation, matrix notation, function notation, and code snippets. In this talk, we will discuss the ways participants described what it means for quantum states and bases to be discrete and continuous. Additionally, we will discuss the ways students connected discrete and continuous in the context of computational approximations.</p>