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Abstract Title: Student Difficulties with the Car and Passenger Problem
Abstract: Students were asked to draw all the forces on both an accelerating car and on a passenger riding in that car. Then they were asked to identify why the car accelerated. As it turns out, these are hard questions. Students cannot always think of the correct forces. In those cases, if they are motivated to make Newton's second law work, they might invent forces, or label things as forces that are not actually forces (i.e. "motion," "momentum," "inertia"). In other cases, the labeled forces are all interactions between two objects, but students cannot then use Newton's second law do explain why things accelerate. This presentation will examine the conditions under which students make these choices. In addition, student performance on the Force Concept Inventory, particularly the items about the nature of forces and about Newton's Second law, relates to their performance on the free-response problem in an intriguing way.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Jennifer Blue
Miami University
Department of Physics
Oxford, OH 45056
Phone: 513-529-1380

Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster