@inproceedings{d6e83db82b16460d845f1125d9ad5c30,

title = "Student reasoning about the divergence of a vector field",

abstract = "Expanding our knowledge of student difficulties in advanced undergraduate electromagnetism is essential if we are to develop effective instructional interventions. Drawing on an analysis of course materials, in-class observations and responses to conceptual questions, we document specific resources employed by students when reasoning about the divergence of a vector field. One common student error, which persisted in our course despite explicit instruction, is to misinterpret any {"}spreading out{"} of field lines in a diagram as representing a place of non-zero divergence. Some of these student difficulties can likely be attributed to having first learned about the divergence in a mathematical context, where there was little emphasis on graphical representations of vector fields and connections to physical situations.",

keywords = "Physics education research, Electromagnetism , Divergence, Mathematics, Conceptual understanding",

author = "Charles Baily and Cecilia Astolfi",

year = "2015",

month = apr,

day = "28",

doi = "10.1119/perc.2014.pr.004",

language = "English",

isbn = "978-1-931024-23-5",

series = "PERC Proceedings",

publisher = "American Association of Physics Teachers",

pages = "31--34",

editor = "Engelhardt, {Paula V.} and Churukian, {Alice D.} and Jones, {Dyan L.}",

booktitle = "2014 Physics Education Research Conference",

note = "Physics Education Research Conference 2014 ; Conference date: 30-07-2014 Through 31-07-2014",

}