Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title



Physics is built on mathematical models that enable us to describe, understand, and predict phenomena that we observe in nature. Therefore learning physics requires thinking through related models and understanding their applicability in a given situation. This is not an easy task to a novice physics student. In an effort to investigate this matter, a particular study is conducted to see if introductory physics students think through Newton’s laws of motion when they solve related mechanics problems. In this study, students first determine if the state of the motion of a given system in the problem is in static equilibrium, dynamic equilibrium or not in equilibrium. Then they solve the problem and the solution provided by each student is analyzed to see if they correctly apply the state of motion to Newton’s second law equation to obtain the solution. According to preliminary data we find that many students correctly identify the state of motion, but fail to carry out it to the solution. Results of the study along with questions and answers are presented.


GSU Department of Physics and Astronomy

This document is currently not available here.