Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Boyd Edwards


Boyd Edwards


Hillary Swanson


Jeon-Young Ji


In Physics, the topic of the Coriolis force is often confusing and difficult to teach. I conducted a series of interviews with undergraduate physics students to understand how they would use their prior knowledge and personal experiences to interact with and navigate through a new conceptual teaching approach for the Coriolis force. Many students applied their intuitive understanding of balance to interpret and make predictions about the Coriolis force. Some students displayed a strong conviction that rotating objects will naturally get pulled outward, which suggests that this impression may be a useful tool for novice physics learners to use in other contexts. The students also demonstrated how their experience in previous physics classes had taught them to prioritize certain physics concepts in order to guide them through the problem-solving process, showing how classroom learning can help develop and enrich students’ intellectual skills. These findings indicate ways in which educators can adapt or restructure current Coriolis force teaching method to utilize these productive knowledge resources in a more efficient manner.

Included in

Physics Commons