Chandralekha Singh

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh
Ph.D., Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1993
Summary:

The goal of my research is to identify sources of student difficulties in learning physics both at the introductory and advanced levels, and to design, implement, and assess curricula/pedagogies that may significantly reduce these difficulties. The objective is to enable students at all levels to develop critical thinking skills, and to become good problem solvers and independent learners.

Below are examples of investigations in both the introductory and advanced courses we are pursuing:

  • Difficulties in learning Quantum Mechanics and tutorial development: We have been investigating the difficulties that advanced undergraduate students have in learning quantum physics by designing surveys and interviewing individual students. We find that the difficulties and misconceptions displayed by advanced students are largely independent of their background, teaching style, and textbook similar to those documented for introductory physics. We are currently developing and evaluating tutorials for helping students learn various topics in advanced quantum mechanics.
  • Introductory level topics: We have been investigating the difficulties that introductory students have with energy and momentum concepts, symmetry and Gauss's law, magnetism, and rotational and rolling motion concept. We have developed and administered free–response and multiple–choice questions and conducted interviews with individual students using think–aloud protocol to understand their difficulties. We have developed tutorials to help students learn superposition, symmetry, and Gauss's law.
  • Cognitive issues in learning physics: We are interested in researching the connection between student difficulties in learning physics and models of cognition. For example, we want to understand how physical intuition develops and how the problem solving strategies of individuals at different levels of expertise in physics shows similaritities and differences when physical intuition fails. We are also investigating how expertise develops in the context of learning physics.
  • Teaching effective problem solving: We are currently investigating the extent to which students can be taught effective problem solving heuristics. We are developing video–tutorials that help students learn effective problem solving strategies using concrete examples in an interactive environment. The tutorials are designed to provide scaffolding support and help students view the problem solving process as an opportunity for knowledge and skill acquisition rather than a "plug and chug" chore. Preliminary evaluations are encouraging.
Students
Namesort descending Position Email
Brown, Ben Postdoctoral Fellow brb10@pitt.edu
DeVore, Seth Postdoctoral Fellow std23@pitt.edu
Good, Melanie Graduate Student
Justice, Paul Graduate Student paj42@pitt.edu
Kalender, Yasemin Graduate Student
Karim, Nafis Graduate Student
Keebaugh, Christof Graduate Student ckk10@pitt.edu
Li, Jing Postdoctoral Fellow
Maries, Alex Postdoctoral Fellow
Marshman, Emily Postdoctoral Fellow emm101@pitt.edu
Mason, Andrew Postdoctoral Fellow
Sayer, Ryan Postdoctoral Fellow rts36@pitt.edu
Whitcomb, Kyle Graduate Student kmw136@pitt.edu
Yin-Lin, Shih Postdoctoral Fellow
Zhu, Guangtian Postdoctoral Fellow

Ben Brown


Postdoctoral Fellow

brb10@pitt.edu
221A Allen Hall, Pittsburgh PA, 15213

Affiliation:

Physics
University of Pittsburgh

Seth DeVore


Postdoctoral Fellow

std23@pitt.edu
221A Allen Hall, Pittsburgh PA, 15213

Affiliation:

Physics
University of Pittsburgh

Melanie Good


Graduate Student


221A Allen Hall, Pittsburgh PA, 15213

Affiliation:

Physics
University of Pittsburgh

Paul Justice


Graduate Student

paj42@pitt.edu
3941 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh PA, 15260
270-792-3461

Affiliation:

Physics
University of Pittsburgh

Yasemin Kalender


Graduate Student


221A Allen Hall, Pittsburgh PA, 15213

Affiliation:

Physics
University of Pittsburgh

Nafis Karim


Graduate Student


221A Allen Hall, Pittsburgh PA, 15213

Affiliation:

Physics
University of Pittsburgh

Christof Keebaugh


Graduate Student

ckk10@pitt.edu
3941 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh PA, 15260
412-624-9000

Affiliation:

Physics
University of Pittsburgh

Project:

Investigating student difficulties and designing instructional tools to improve student learning of quantum mechanics

Jing Li


Postdoctoral Fellow


221A Allen Hall, Pittsburgh PA, 15213

Affiliation:

Physics
University of Pittsburgh

Websites:

Alex Maries


Postdoctoral Fellow


221A Allen Hall, Pittsburgh PA, 15213

Affiliation:

Physics
University of Pittsburgh

Emily Marshman


Postdoctoral Fellow

emm101@pitt.edu
3941 O'Hara St., Pittsburgh PA, 15260

Affiliation:

Physics
University of Pittsburgh

Andrew Mason


Postdoctoral Fellow


221A Allen Hall, Pittsburgh PA, 15213

Affiliation:

Physics
University of Pittsburgh

Ryan Sayer


Postdoctoral Fellow

rts36@pitt.edu
221A Allen Hall, Pittsburgh PA, 15213

Affiliation:

Physics
University of Pittsburgh

Kyle Whitcomb


Graduate Student

kmw136@pitt.edu
221A Allen Hall, Pittsburgh PA, 15213

Affiliation:

Physics
University of Pittsburgh

Shih Yin-Lin


Postdoctoral Fellow


221A Allen Hall, Pittsburgh PA, 15213

Affiliation:

Physics
University of Pittsburgh

Guangtian Zhu


Postdoctoral Fellow


221A Allen Hall, Pittsburgh PA, 15213

Affiliation:

Physics
University of Pittsburgh
Most Cited Publications
  1. "Modeling the interactions between polymers and clay surfaces through self-consistent field theory," Anna C Balazs, Chandralekha Singh, Ekaterina Zhulina, Macromolecules 31, 8370 (1998)
  2. "Theoretical phase diagrams of polymer/clay composites: the role of grafted organic modifiers," Valeriy V Ginzburg, Chandralekha Singh, Anna C Balazs, Macromolecules 33, 1089 (2000)
  3. "Modeling the phase behavior of polymer/clay nanocomposites," Anna C Balazs, Chandralekha Singh, Ekaterina Zhulina, Yulia Lyatskaya, Acc. Chem. Res. 32, 651 (1999)
  4. "Student understanding of quantum mechanics," Chandralekha SinghAm. J. Phys. 69, 885 (2001)
  5. "Connecting three pivotal concepts in K-12 science state standards and maps of conceptual growth to research in physics education," Chandralekha Singh, Christian D. Schunn, arXiv:1603.06024 (2016).
Recent Publications
  1. "Comparing introductory physics and astronomy students’ attitudes and approaches to problem solving," Melanie Good, Andrew Mason, and Chandralekha SinghEJP-103840.R1 (2018).
  2. "Investigating and addressing student difficulties with a good basis for finding perturbative corrections in the context of degenerate perturbation theory," Christof Keebaugh, Emily Marshman, and Chandralekha Singh,EJP-103304.R2 (2018).
  3. "Investigating and improving introductory physics students’ understanding of electric flux," Jing Li and Chandralekha Singh,EJP-103253.R1 (2018).
  4. "Exploring one aspect of pedagogical content knowledge of teaching assistants using the Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism," Nafis I. Karim, Alexandru Maries, and Chandralekha SinghPHYSICAL REVIEW PHYSICS EDUCATION RESEARCH 14, 010117 (2018)
  5. "Case of two electrostatics problems: Can providing a diagram adversely impact introductory physics students’ problem solving performance?," Alexandru Maries and Chandralekha Singh,PHYSICAL REVIEW PHYSICS EDUCATION RESEARCH 14, 010114 (2018).
  6. "Investigating and addressing student difficulties with the corrections to the energies of the hydrogen atom for the strong and weak field Zeeman effects," Christof Keebaugh, Emily Marshman, and Chandralekha SinghEJP-103333.R1 (2018)

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