Obstacles Related to Structuring for Mathematization Encountered by Students when Solving Physics Problems

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This paper studies the cognitive obstacles related to one aspect of mathematization in physics problem-solving, namely, what might be called structuring for mathematization, where the problem situation is structured in such a way that a translation to a mathematical universe can be done. We report the results of an analysis of four protocols from task-based interviews with university students working on physics problems in pairs who fail when solving the problems. The obstacles encountered by the students are shown to be related to how the students approach the structuring for mathematization, but they are met at different steps in this process. Four types of obstacles are identified.
Translated title of the contributionForhindringer angående matematiseringsstrukturering som studerende møder når de løser fysikopgaver.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1441-1462
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Mathematization
  • Modeling
  • Physics education
  • Problem solving
  • University students

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