Coordinator: Dr. Deepa Chari and Dr. Aniket Sule
Graduate Course (Core)
Dr. Deepa Chari and Dr. Aniket Sule
Coordinator: Dean's Office
Virtual Classroom Platform [Zoom meeting application]
974 6584 9238
Investigating students’ alternative conceptions in elementary thermodynamics and developing and testing activity-based modules to address them
Heat and thermodynamics is an important area for physics education at the undergraduate level. Due to various reasons, including daily experiences as one of them, students misinterpret these concepts and often develop alternative conceptions about them. In our work, we have investigated undergraduate physics students’ alternative conceptions in elementary thermodynamics.
It is evident from the physics education research literature that conventional instructional strategies are not sufficient to address such alternative conceptions. It is important to introduce active learning strategies to deal with them. The current work has adopted an activity-based approach to challenge alternative conceptions. The developed activity-based modules on, namely, thermal equilibrium and the first law of thermodynamics, consists of a series of activities with experiments/demonstrations, designed with specific objectives along with structured activity-sheets. These modules were implemented using the predict-observe-explain (POE) approach to undergraduate students from different colleges located in different cities across India. The study indicated that the developed modules, by addressing the alternative conceptions, helped in enhancing students' conceptual understanding of the central concepts covered in the module.
In the Indian curricula, the theoretical courses in thermodynamics are not supported by the practical course work. Thus, using the activity-based modules in classrooms as demonstrations or using them as part of a laboratory course is a promising alternative to develop a deeper understanding of the core areas like thermodynamics.