Kinematics is a topic students are unknowingly aware of well before entering the physics classroom. Students observe motion on a daily basis. They are constantly interpreting and making sense of their observations, unintentionally building their own understanding of kinematics before receiving any formal instruction. Unfortunately, when students take their prior conceptions to understand a new situation, they often do so in a way that inaccurately connects their learning. We were motivated to identify strategies to help our students make accurate connections to their prior knowledge and understand kinematics at a deeper level. To do this, we integrated a formative assessment card sort into a kinematic graphing unit within an introductory high school physics course. Throughout the activities, we required students to document and reflect upon their thinking. This allowed their learning to build upon their own previously held conceptual understanding, which provided an avenue for cognitive growth. By taking a more direct approach to eliciting student reasoning, we hoped to improve student learning and guide our assessment of their learning.
Berryhill, E., Oliver, K., & Herrington, D. (2016). Kinematics card sort activity: Insight into students’ thinking for students and teacher. The Physics Teacher, 54, 541-544.