Physics 173 Internet Question of the Week

The Questions

December 8 - December 12, 1997

Question #1:

Much research is being done on how students learn physics and what they actually learn from physics. This research has grand implications concerning your own efforts to learn physics. One research group which actively conducts research on the efforts of high school students to learn motion concepts is located at North Carolina State University. In fact they have developed tests to assist in identifying student difficulties and beliefs. Once such test is the Kinematics Concept Inventory (TUG-K) which Phyiscs 173 students took a couple of weeks ago. The test reveals information about common student difficulties in interpretting kinematic graphs. Since we have spent almost two weeks on the topic, perhaps their research would be useful to your own efforts to learn kinematic graphs.

Using a major search engine, find the Physics Education Research Homepage at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. The research group is headed by Robert J. Beichner in the Physics Department. Once you find the page, click on the link to the Kinematics Graph Interpretation Project.

Once you have found the page, 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. Read the entire page carefully. The page describes specific difficulties students have and a corresponding teaching strategy for each difficulty. Identify at least three difficulties from the page (write them out). For each difficulty which you identify, provide an example problem which you solve two ways - the first way is a wrong solution which illustrates the student difficulty and the second way illustrates the correct understanding of the topic. For each problem write a sentence or two in which you describe how your wrong solution illustrates the difficulty. Do a bang-up job here; this is a two-point question.


Question #2:

Renatta Oyle moves at a constant speed of 20.0 m/s for 10.0 seconds and then accelerates at a rate of -5.0 m/s/s to a rest position.
  1. Construct a velocity-time graph for this motion and use the graph to compute the total displacement of Renatta during this motion. Be sure to label the coordinates of strategic data points. PSYW


  2. Use kinematic equations to caclulate the total displacement of Renatta. PSYW (NOTE: the answers to a and b should be the same; if not, correct your work.)


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Last Updated: December 8, 1997