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ERIC Number: EJ891982
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Mar
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
"Physics with a Smile"--Explaining Phenomena with a Qualitative Problem-Solving Strategy
Mualem, Roni; Eylon, Bat-Sheva
Physics Teacher, v45 n3 p158-163 Mar 2007
Various studies indicate that high school physics students and even college students majoring in physics have difficulties in qualitative understanding of basic concepts and principles of physics. For example, studies carried out with the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) illustrate that qualitative tasks are not easy to solve even at the college level. Consequently, "conceptual physics" courses have been designed to foster qualitative understanding, and advanced high school physics courses as well as introductory college-level courses strive to develop qualitative understanding. Many physics education researchers emphasize the importance of acquiring some qualitative understanding of basic concepts in physics as early as middle school or in the context of courses that offer "Physics First" in the ninth grade before biology or chemistry. This trend is consistent with the call to focus the science curriculum on a small number of basic concepts and ideas, and to instruct students in a more "meaningful way" leading to better understanding. Studies suggest that familiar everyday contexts (see Fig. 1) are useful in fostering qualitative understanding.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A