Date of Award

6-2003

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Science Education, Mallinson Institute

First Advisor

Dr. Aletta I. Zeileman-Thomas

Second Advisor

Dr. William Cobern

Third Advisor

Dr. Suthat Yoksan

Abstract

The central concept of Newtonian mechanics is force. Without this concept, the students would find the rest of mechanics very difficult to master. Based on this hypothesis, the understandings and misconceptions of Newtonian mechanics were investigated.

Three hundred eighteen Thai freshmen participated in this study. The freshmen were divided into two groups according to their high school locations, Bangkok and other cities of Thailand. The Force Concept Inventory was used to probe the freshmen's understandings and misconceptions. The SPSS and EXCEL programs were used to analyze the data. The translation of the FCI into Thai and its subsequent validation is considered to be a significant contribution to physics education research.

The analyses indicated freshmen had the best understanding on concepts of Newton's first and third laws and the least on Newton's second law. Several Misconceptions on Newtonian force concepts were found, similar to their USA counterparts. Statistically significant differences were found between the two groups of freshmen on understanding of Newtonian force concepts.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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