Physics 173 Internet Question of the Week

The Questions

November 24 - December 5, 1997

Question #1:

As we approach the topic of motion, you should continually be aware of the fact that you have begun the course with a variety of preconceptions. You have already formulated a variety of ideas about acceleration, mass, force, gravity, velocity, etc. Your task of learning the concepts taught in this course demands that you continually contemplate your own beliefs and deal with them accordingly. This week's search question will target the topic of student preconceptions.

Find a site titled Comprehensive Conceptual Curriculum for Physics (also called C3P) using a major search engine. The site is based at the University of Dallas, the prinicpal investigator is Richard P. Olenick, and it is a common high school physics education site. This should be sufficient information to find the site using a keyword search. Once you find the C3P home page, click on the button titled Alternate Student Conceptions. A variety of student preconceptions are listed on the linked page. The list identifies the most common misconceptions believed by students of physics. Note: these are MISconceptions - wrong beliefs. (A word to the wise: this would be an excellent page to print and to keep available as a checklist as you proceed through the rest of the year. If you believe any of these ideas, then you will likely have difficulty.)

Once you have found the site, do the following:

  1. identify the URL (address) of the page.
  2. describe the search path which you took to find the page (see example description).
  3. review the preconceptions for the Overall/Kinematics section and study preconceptions #2, 3, and 5:
    • Two objects side by side ...
    • Acceleration and velocity are ...
    • If velocity is zero, ...

    For each one of these three preconceptions, write a few of sentences in which you state the preconception and describe a concrete example which illustrates why such a preconception is a false conception.


Question #2:

A 2.0-kg ball is thrown upward from the top of a 45-meter high bridge with a velocity of +40 m/s. Carefully construct a position-time and a velocity-time plot for the ball's flight through the air (assuming that it experiences no air resistance). Finally, use the velocity-time plot to determine the height of the ball (relative to the water) when it reaches the peak of its trajectory. PSAYW

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Last Updated: December 1, 1997