Location:

SS 104 
Date:

Wednesday, Aug.3 
Time:

9:40 AM 9:50 AM

Author:

Daniel Smith, Jr., South Carolina State University
8035367162, dsmith@scsu.edu

CoAuthor(s):

None

Abstract:

To solve kinematics problems, students are usually advised to (1) draw a diagram or graph, (2) write down known and unknown quantities, (3) choose kinematic equations that will allow the determination of the unknown quantities, and (4) solve that equation. Frequently this prescription does not result in the student finding a problem solution, but why? Often student difficulties are attributed to their inability to choose the correct equation, or to weak skills in algebra. Evidence is presented from a calculusbased physics class, however, that students fail to solve problems because they lack a conceptual understanding of the problem, as determined by their ability to relate the problem data to a diagram. The limited roles that "choosing the right equation," and weak algebra skills play in problemsolving is further explored by having students solve problems graphically by using interactive software designed especially for onedimensional kinematics problems.

Footnotes:

None


