In his Dec. 17 Action-Reaction blog post titled "Falling Rolls," one of my heroes of physics instruction, Frank Noschese, details an exercise from Robert Ehrlich's book Why Toast Lands Jelly-Side Down.
Interactive Examples (IE's) are quantitative homework problems whose "help" comes in the form of more questions. Eventually, enough information is given in the helps to work the problems, but we hope that as students work their way through these examples, they acquire some better understanding of how to approach these kinds of problems. In particular, we hope that these examples help students learn to develop problem-solving strategies that are based on conceptual understanding rather than equation manipulation. In fact, once the student correctly answers the initial problem, we present a recap of the solution in terms of sequential conceptual, strategic and quantitative analyses. Following the recap, we ask the student some conceptual follow-up questions to test understanding.
This exploratory’s emphasis is on the introduction of Newton's 1st, 2nd and 3rd laws. At each station students are asked to perform one or more activities and answer questions based on their observations. These stations use a variety of...
Physics is filled with an almost infinite variety of problems and questions. Of course, in physics it is not sufficient to simply "guess" the answer, correct or not. In fact, one may even learn more about physics during the process of working through a problem even if the wrong conclusion is reached. A good argument about an interesting physics problem is one of the ways to learn the most about physics, and also helps to prepare you for marriage.
We will try to select questions that require perhaps more than the minimal amount of thought, in that there may be good reasons why any of the possible answers might be correct. The way to form a conclusion about such problems is to try to figure out what ideas or laws of physics are relevant, then try to figure out how they might be applied.