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ERIC Number: EJ926941
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 22
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Adding Value to Force Diagrams: Representing Relative Force Magnitudes
Wendel, Paul
Physics Teacher, v49 n5 p308-311 May 2011
Nearly all physics instructors recognize the instructional value of force diagrams, and this journal has published several collections of exercises to improve student skill in this area. Yet some instructors worry that too few students perceive the conceptual and problem-solving utility of force diagrams, and over recent years a rich variety of approaches has been proposed to add value to force diagrams. Suggestions include strategies for identifying candidate forces, emphasizing the distinction between "contact" and "noncontact" forces, and the use of computer-based tutorials. Instructors have suggested a variety of conventions for constructing force diagrams, including approaches to arrow placement and orientation and proposed notations for locating forces or marking action-reaction force pairs.
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: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A