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The Physics Teacher
written by Edward F. Redish
An important step in learning to use math in science is learning to see symbolic equations not just as calculational tools, but as ways of expressing fundamental relationships among physical quantities, of coding conceptual information, and of organizing physics knowledge structures. In this paper, I propose "anchor equations" as a construct to support teaching and learning in introductory physics. I define anchor equation, provide examples, and suggest ways anchor equations can be used in instruction to support the development of students' mathematical sense-making.

Editor's Note: This paper is the third in a series of five articles on how to help students develop the scientific reasoning skills required to effectively use mathematics in science. The author and publisher are temporarily offering this article for free access.

See Related Materials for links to the additional articles that comprise this series: Collection Overview, plus articles addressing dimensional analysis, estimation, toy models, and functional dependence.
The Physics Teacher: Volume 59, Issue 8, Pages 599-604
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= Skills
General Physics
- Scientific Reasoning
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Formats:
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Access Rights:
Limited free access
This article is temporarily available for free access. The Physics Teacher is a subscription-based periodical.
Restriction:
© 2021 American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)
DOI:
10.1119/5.0023066
NSF Numbers:
DUE-1504366
DUE-1624478
Keywords:
constructivism, epistemology, knowledge construction, math symbology, mathematical reasoning, mechanistic reasoning, mental models, scaffolding, scientific reasoning, sense making
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created May 18, 2023 by Sam McKagan
Record Updated:
June 22, 2023 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
October 27, 2021
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Record Link
AIP Format
E. Redish, , Phys. Teach. 59 (8), 599 (2021), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0023066).
AJP/PRST-PER
E. Redish, Using Math in Physics: 3. Anchor equations, Phys. Teach. 59 (8), 599 (2021), <https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0023066>.
APA Format
Redish, E. (2021, October 27). Using Math in Physics: 3. Anchor equations. Phys. Teach., 59(8), 599-604. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0023066
Chicago Format
Redish, Edward F.. "Using Math in Physics: 3. Anchor equations." Phys. Teach. 59, no. 8, (October 27, 2021): 599-604, https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0023066 (accessed 23 June 2024).
MLA Format
Redish, Edward F.. "Using Math in Physics: 3. Anchor equations." Phys. Teach. 59.8 (2021): 599-604. 23 June 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0023066>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Edward F. Redish", Title = {Using Math in Physics: 3. Anchor equations}, Journal = {Phys. Teach.}, Volume = {59}, Number = {8}, Pages = {599-604}, Month = {October}, Year = {2021} }
Refer Export Format

%A Edward F. Redish %T Using Math in Physics: 3. Anchor equations %J Phys. Teach. %V 59 %N 8 %D October 27, 2021 %P 599-604 %U https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0023066 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Redish, Edward F. %D October 27, 2021 %T Using Math in Physics: 3. Anchor equations %J Phys. Teach. %V 59 %N 8 %P 599-604 %8 October 27, 2021 %U https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0023066


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The AJP/PRST-PER presented is based on the AIP Style with the addition of journal article titles and conference proceeding article titles.

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Using Math in Physics: 3. Anchor equations:

Accompanies Using Math in Physics: Overview

A link to the overview article by E.F. Redish that explains how all six items in this collection are related to the topic, "Using Math in Physics".

relation by Caroline Hall
Accompanies Using Math in Physics: 1. Dimensional Analysis

A link to the first in this series of five articles, "Using Math in Physics 1: Dimensional Analysis".

relation by Caroline Hall
Accompanies Using Math in Physics: 2. Estimation

A link to the second in this series of five articles: "Using Math in Physics 2: Estimation".

relation by Caroline Hall
Accompanies Using Math in Physics: 4. Toy models

A link to the fourth in this series of five articles: "Using Math in Physics 4: Toy Models".

relation by Caroline Hall
Accompanies Using Math in Physics: 5. Functional dependence

A link to the fifth in this series of five articles, "Using Math in Physics 5: Functional Dependence".

relation by Caroline Hall

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