ERIC Number: EJ781579
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Reference Count: 8
Don't Just Stand There--Teach Fermi Problems!
Robinson, A. W.
Physics Education, v43 n1 p83-87 Jan 2008
Fermi problems, or order of magnitude estimates, are often used in introductory physics courses. In this paper I will show that first year students studying physics at university do not arrive with the skill set to solve these problems, and they have to be actively taught how to solve them. Once they have been shown how to solve Fermi problems, the above-average students in the class usually perform slightly better on Fermi problems in examinations than they do on more traditional physics problems. However, many students who are below average in overall grade find the Fermi problems even more challenging than the traditional problems. (Contains 5 figures.)
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, College Freshmen, College Science, Problem Solving, Science Process Skills, Teaching Methods, Introductory Courses, Computation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A