Towards understanding learning challenges involving sign convention in introductory level kinematics

Moa Eriksson, Cedric Linder, Urban Eriksson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceedingpeer-review


Coming to appropriately appreciate the meaning of algebraic signs is an important aspect in introductory kinematics. However, in this educational context, the “disciplinary relevant aspects“ of algebraic signs across vector and scalar representations are extremely difficult to discern. Our study explores the “relevance structure“ that one-dimensional kinematics problems evoked for introductory level university physics students across two very different educational systems which have, in PER terms, progressive teaching environments: Sweden (n=60) and South Africa (n=24). The outcomes of two previous PER studies are used to provide the analytic basis for formulating categories of relevance structure. Aspects of a contemporary PER-developed social semiotics perspective (referred to here in terms of communication practices) are used to discuss implications for teaching in the given educational context of introductory kinematics.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhysics Education Research Conference Proceedings
PublisherAmerican Association of Physics Teachers
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventPhysics Education Research Conference, PERC 2018 - Washington, United States
Duration: 2016 Aug 12016 Aug 2

Publication series

NamePhysics Education Research Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)1539-9028


ConferencePhysics Education Research Conference, PERC 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Physics Topics


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