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ERIC Number: ED357356
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Pages: 5
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
From Mere Formulas to the Bigger Picture: Helping Students in Introductory Physics See Interconnectedness.
Day, Lawrence H.
Students should use words (their own words) to learn physics,and that is why it is important for students learning introductory physics to write as they learn. To teach physics badly, teach it as a bunch of equations with no underlying meaning, or make it scary and nearly incomprehensible. Physics is really about subtle ideas and concepts--it is difficult because the ideas are new to most students. Writing helps students in introductory physics courses to deepen conceptual understanding; allows them to think in multiple ways; and entices them to enlarge upon an idea and connect it to other realms. Teachers should show students the relationship in symbols after the concept is firmly lodged in the mind; otherwise, students become focused on memorizing relatively sophisticated but intellectually limited procedural skills. (A figure describing the concepts of motion, force, and energy and consisting of nothing but mathematical equations illustrates introductory physics when it is taught badly; and a figure expressing the same concepts entirely in words illustrates introductory physics when it is taught well. (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A