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ERIC Number: EJ1087674
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1554-9178
Drawing and Using Free Body Diagrams: Why It May Be Better Not to Decompose Forces
Aviani, Ivica; Erceg, Nataša; Mešic, Vanes
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, v11 n2 p020137-1-020137-14 Jul-Dec 2015
In this study we investigated how two different approaches to drawing free body diagrams influence the development of students' understanding of Newton's laws, including their ability to identify real forces. For this purpose we developed a 12-item two-tier multiple choice survey and conducted a quasiexperiment. This experiment included two groups of first-year physics students from Rijeka (RG) (n[subscript e] = 27) and Split (SG) (n[subscript c] = 25) Universities. Students from both groups solved mechanics problems for a period of two class hours. The only difference was that RG students used the superposition of forces approach to solving mechanics problems and in SG the decomposition of forces approach has been used. The ANCOVA (n[subscript c] = 17, n[subscript e] = 17) showed a statistically significant difference in favor of RG, whereby the effect sizes were moderate to large, and the largest differences have been observed in the ability of identifying real forces. Students from the control group (SG) more often exhibited the misconception that forces and their components act on a body independently and simultaneously. Our results support the idea that the practice of resolving forces into the components may not be the most effective way to develop understanding of Newton's laws and the concept of force.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Croatia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A