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An expert’s process of solving a problem involves three steps (Reif & Heller, 1982). In contrast, novices do not tend to ask these kinds of questions during problem solving (Hendersen, 2002).The first one is the description stage which is a translation of the problem statement into a clear description of the problem. The second one is the search for a solution stage which uses generally applicable procedures. Novices are not likely to evaluate their answers (Maloney, 1994).
Larkin (1983) showed that experts used their domain-specific representations as a guide to solving problems before they used mathematics.
Domain-specific representations include drawing diagrams. Experts in general draw figures to understand the problem before solving, whereas novices do not have this skill (Schultz & Lockhead, 1991).
According to Alan Van Heuvelen (1991), students do not draw diagrams because they do not understand concepts and principles.
Also, students are not taught how to create their own diagrams, and their alternative conceptions are in conflict with what they know. The answers to these questions help them to evaluate their progress and give them ideas of what to do for the next step.
Experts know more and how to use the knowledge (Foster, 2000): The difference between experts and novices in physics is that experts know more physics.
According to Chi, Feltovich, & Glaser (1981), novices used surface features of the problem to solve problems.In brief, modeling in physics is defined as “making a simplified, idealized physics model of a messy real-world situation by approximations” (Chabay & Sherwood, 1999).This is also called “physics modeling” in the physics education community.This analysis done by experts is a qualitative description based on principles and not mathematical calculation (Larkin, 1979).So, the qualitative analysis is the problem solver’s interpretation of the problem.In this course, physics modeling and computer simulations are used to promote conceptual understanding utilizing the interactive engagement method.Hake (1998) defines "interactive engagement (IE) methods as those designed at least in part to promote conceptual understanding through engagement of students in heads-on (always) and hands-on (usually) activities which yield immediate feedback through discussion with peers and/or instructors...” (Hake, 1998, p.65).Modeling is used differently in physics when we say physics modeling; a few specific fundamental principles are used to construct physics models, such as linear momentum principle, energy principle, and angular momentum principle.So it is different than modeling used in science education.Surface features are objects, physical terms, and physical configurations in a given problem.Experts did not use these surface characteristics for solving problems. Experts are deliberate and they plan before solving a problem (Foster, 2000): Experts analyze a problem carefully before solving it rather than directly using equations to solve it.