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PERC 2012 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Students’ Difficulties Interpreting the Torque Vector in a Physical Situation
Abstract: In this article we investigate students' difficulties interpreting the torque vector in a physical situation. To identify these difficulties we carried out task-based interviews with undergraduate physics major students completing a junior-level course of mechanics. In the task we presented a drawing with a beam that is initially at equilibrium over a fulcrum. Later, a weight is hung in a position on the left side. We detected an alternative conception in which students think that the left side of the beam and the weight will have an additional motion in the direction of the torque vector. To quantify students having this alternative conception, we designed and administered a multiple-choice question to undergraduate physics major students completing a sophomore-level modern physics course. We found that 18% of the students had this conception. From these results, we present some suggestions for instruction of the torque vector concept.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Pablo Barniol
Tecnologico de Monterrey
Garza Sada 2501
Monterrey, Non U.S. 64849
and Co-Presenter(s)
Carlos Hinojosa, Tecnologico de Monterrey
Genaro Zavala, Tecnologico de Monterrey