An investigation of eureka and the affective states surrounding eureka moments

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This paper continues prior work conducted on the analysis of moments of student learning in Physics Playground, a learning environment for qualitative physics. The study analyzed data from 60 tenth-grade students who used Physics Playground for 90 minutes. We detected spikes of student learning, or “eureka” moments, while solving physics problem. We then related these moments of insight to affective states labeled according to the BROMP protocol. Our hypothesis was that students would be confused before eureka moments, and experience delight afterwards. Contrary to this hypothesis, we found that eureka moments and the periods surrounding them were associated with a decrease in all affective states. No significant differences were found in comparing the affective profiles of students who experienced eureka and those who did not.