Physics Education Research

My work is on investigating students’ difficulties in elementary thermodynamics and developing and testing the activity-based modules to help students overcome their alternative conceptions. I worked with physics undergraduate students from different cities in India.

In the first part of my work I identified students’ difficulties in the following topics:

  1. heat and temperature,
  2. thermal equilibrium
  3. heat transfer mechanisms and
  4. first law of thermodynamics.

The students’ difficulties observed in the study, are described in the section “Students’ difficulties”.
In the second part of my work, I worked on development of modules on two concepts, namely, 1. Thermal Equilibrium and 2. First Law of Thermodynamics. The module consisted of pre-test, activities and post-test. These modules are described under the section “Activity-based modules”. The development of the activities and the worksheets in these modules were iterative processes. The analysis of students’ responses for each trial was used in development of the activities and worksheets.

Both the modules were administered to groups of students from different parts of the country. Students’ responses were collected for pre- and post-tests. The analysis of students’ responses helped in determining the effectiveness of these modules.

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