TitleStudents' Sensemaking Skills and Habits: Two Years Later
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2019
AuthorsLenz, MacKenzie, Kelby T. Hahn, Paul J. Emigh, and Elizabeth Gire
Conference NamePhysics Education Research Conference
PublisherAmerican Association of Physics Teachers
Conference LocationProvo, UT

Recent efforts aim to make sensemaking instruction more explicit with the hope of having lasting impact on students' success in a broad range of physics settings. A sophomore-level theoretical mechanics course developed at Oregon State University emphasizes sensemaking on par with physics and math concepts. This emphasis includes explicit instruction and assessment of student sensemaking. We have found that student sensemaking improves during this course but were curious to see what lasting impacts the course has on students. Seven students were interviewed approximately two years after taking this course. We asked students about their current understanding and use of sensemaking and to what extent the course contributed to their sensemaking skills and habits. We found that students have a variety of ideas about what sensemaking is—from answer-checking to how you understand anything—but that they felt this sensemaking-focused course was instrumental in developing their sensemaking.

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