# Unit Conversion with Dimensional Analysis - Backwards Faded Example Worksheet

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This is a Backwards Faded Example Worksheet (see below) practicing unit conversion with metric prefixes using dimensional analysis.

Students with low levels of prior knowledge learn much more efficiently by studying worked examples.

However, it’s difficult to get students to study worked examples in a meaningful way – they tend to just skip them and go to the problems they need to work on!

One way to have students engage with worked examples this is to teach self-question techniques that allow the student to interact with the worked example, such as asking “where did that number come from” or “why did they do that step next.” The actual working out of the problem and the determination of which steps to follow has been completed for them, and they are then free to use their working memory to learn from the solution rather than simply stumble through it.

Another way to encourage student interaction with worked examples is to use backwards-faded worked examples. In these types of worked examples, students are provided with completely worked-out examples and then in subsequent examples steps are removed, starting with the final step of the problem.

Removing one step at a time creates a need for the student to self-question the completely worked-out examples to determine how to complete the partially worked-out examples. When the problems become more difficult (such as when the problem requires an additional step), more support is given to the student to compensate for the increased mental load of the more difficult problem.

This method of gradually increasing the intrinsic demand of the problem as the knowledge base of the student increases by using worked examples is supported by research findings to be a more efficient and effective way of learning problem solving than being given full problems to work out (Renkl, Atkinson, and Maier 2000).

Renkl, A., R. K. Atkinson, and U. H. Maier. 2000. From studying examples to solving problems: Fading worked-out solution steps helps learning. In Proceedings of the 22nd annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society, ed. L. Gleitman, and A. K. Joshi, 393–398. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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