# Addressing Students' Math Deficiencies in Introductory Physics with Online Scaffolded Problems

## Abstract

Introductory physics courses are mathematically demanding, even those for non-physics science majors. Students must become adept at solving a wide variety of quantitative problems. However, even students with calculus experience often lack facility with basic pre-calculus skills. A large contributing factor to the problem is the students' generally poor retention of working math skills, but they also struggle to transfer their math knowledge to unfamiliar problem domains. These students should benefit from early intervention that continues to scaffold throughout the term. We report on our efforts to create and evaluate math-related, online formative assessment modules for first semester introductory physics. These online tutorials target specific mathematical skills that are essential to success in physics, and are designed to progress from a purely math-centered review of each basic skill, to problems of increasing generality and complexity, and ultimately toward a transfer of these skills to physics problem domains.

## Location

Atrium/Concourse

## Recommended Citation

Wiegert, Craig and Zahedi, Cameron, "Addressing Students' Math Deficiencies in Introductory Physics with Online Scaffolded Problems " (2012). *SoTL Commons Conference*. 80.

https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/sotlcommons/SoTL/2012/80

Addressing Students' Math Deficiencies in Introductory Physics with Online Scaffolded Problems

Atrium/Concourse

Introductory physics courses are mathematically demanding, even those for non-physics science majors. Students must become adept at solving a wide variety of quantitative problems. However, even students with calculus experience often lack facility with basic pre-calculus skills. A large contributing factor to the problem is the students' generally poor retention of working math skills, but they also struggle to transfer their math knowledge to unfamiliar problem domains. These students should benefit from early intervention that continues to scaffold throughout the term. We report on our efforts to create and evaluate math-related, online formative assessment modules for first semester introductory physics. These online tutorials target specific mathematical skills that are essential to success in physics, and are designed to progress from a purely math-centered review of each basic skill, to problems of increasing generality and complexity, and ultimately toward a transfer of these skills to physics problem domains.