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The Physics Teacher
written by Amy D. Robertson, Lisa M. Goodhew, Paula R. L. Heron, and Rachel E. Scherr
Perhaps the most commonly cited student idea about forces in the literature is the notion of an impetus force, defined as the "belief that there is a force inside a moving object that keeps it going and causes it to have some speed," that can then "fade away as the object moves along." According to the literature, even after physics instruction students use impetus force reasoning to argue that forces are necessary to sustain motion or that motion implies force. For example, many students drew an upward arrow to indicate a force on a coin that was moving upward after being tossed. The coin was halfway between the point of its release and its turnaround point. Interviews with students in the course indicate that the arrow was meant to indicate "the 'force of the throw,' the 'upward original force,'" and so on. Clement interprets these results to mean that students "believe that continuing motion implies the presence of a continuing force in the same direction, as a necessary cause of the motion." We analyzed student responses to these three questions, from students enrolled in introductory physics courses at six different U.S. universities, Universities A through F. Six hundred forty-four students answered the modified coin toss question, 214 the curved tubes question, and 429 the pendulum question after relevant instruction about forces and motion. Results indicate that the frequency of impetus-like drawings in our study both (a) is consistently less than reported in previous studies and (b) varies across samples.
The Physics Teacher: Volume 60, Issue 4, Pages 254-257
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Newton's Second Law
= Force, Acceleration
Education - Basic Research
- Alternative Conceptions
- Assessment
= Conceptual Assessment
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
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Format:
text/html
Access Rights:
Limited free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Rights Holder:
AIP Publishing
DOI:
10.1119/5.0027858
NSF Numbers:
DUE-1608510
DUE-1608221
DGE-1256082
DUE-1914603
DUE-1914572
Keywords:
Aristotelian theory, Impetus theory, conceptions about force
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created May 17, 2023 by Sam McKagan
Record Updated:
May 19, 2023 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
March 25, 2022
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Record Link
AIP Format
A. Robertson, L. Goodhew, P. Heron, and R. Scherr, , Phys. Teach. 60 (4), 254 (2022), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0027858).
AJP/PRST-PER
A. Robertson, L. Goodhew, P. Heron, and R. Scherr, Impetus-Force-Like Drawings May Be Less Common Than You Think, Phys. Teach. 60 (4), 254 (2022), <https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0027858>.
APA Format
Robertson, A., Goodhew, L., Heron, P., & Scherr, R. (2022, March 25). Impetus-Force-Like Drawings May Be Less Common Than You Think. Phys. Teach., 60(4), 254-257. Retrieved September 25, 2023, from https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0027858
Chicago Format
Robertson, A, L. Goodhew, P. Heron, and R. Scherr. "Impetus-Force-Like Drawings May Be Less Common Than You Think." Phys. Teach. 60, no. 4, (March 25, 2022): 254-257, https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0027858 (accessed 25 September 2023).
MLA Format
Robertson, Amy, Lisa M. Goodhew, Paula R. L. Heron, and Rachel Scherr. "Impetus-Force-Like Drawings May Be Less Common Than You Think." Phys. Teach. 60.4 (2022): 254-257. 25 Sep. 2023 <https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0027858>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Amy Robertson and Lisa M. Goodhew and Paula R. L. Heron and Rachel Scherr", Title = {Impetus-Force-Like Drawings May Be Less Common Than You Think}, Journal = {Phys. Teach.}, Volume = {60}, Number = {4}, Pages = {254-257}, Month = {March}, Year = {2022} }
Refer Export Format

%A Amy Robertson %A Lisa M. Goodhew %A Paula R. L. Heron %A Rachel Scherr %T Impetus-Force-Like Drawings May Be Less Common Than You Think %J Phys. Teach. %V 60 %N 4 %D March 25, 2022 %P 254-257 %U https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0027858 %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Robertson, Amy %A Goodhew, Lisa M. %A Heron, Paula R. L. %A Scherr, Rachel %D March 25, 2022 %T Impetus-Force-Like Drawings May Be Less Common Than You Think %J Phys. Teach. %V 60 %N 4 %P 254-257 %8 March 25, 2022 %U https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0027858


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Impetus-Force-Like Drawings May Be Less Common Than You Think:

Is By The Same Author and Covers a Similar Topic As Impetus-Like Reasoning as Continuous with Newtonian Physics

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