ERIC Number: ED299171
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Jan-18
Reference Count: N/A
Students' Concept of Force: The Importance of Understanding Newton's Third Law.
Brown, David E.
This paper analyzes the misconceptions high school students have about force and suggests that the misunderstanding of Newton's third law is the key to these misconceptions. Clinical interview and diagnostic test data (N=104) indicates that many students have a naive view of force as an acquired or innate property of single objects rather than that of forces arising from an interaction between objects. Some students' view of objects as inherently more "force-full" by virtue of their mass, speed, or activity suggests that Newton's third law, which makes explicit the relational quality of forces, should play a more important role than is ordinarily granted in teaching. If students acquire a deep understanding of the third law, they may have less difficulty with both quantitative problems requiring the identification of forces and qualitative problems such as those drawing out the "impetus" misconception, in which many students view force as a property of a moving object causing it to move with constant velocity. (YP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers (Crystal City, VA, January 1988). May not reproduce well because of small print and marginal legibility on some pages.