What ideas do students have about forces and fields?

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Episode 105: Kite University of Maryland

Research suggests that students have many productive ideas about forces and fields, and with appropriate support can build a sophisticated model. A common ideas that comes naturally to many students is the idea that both forces and fields have to do with the strength of an interaction between two objects. What other ideas do students have about forces and fields?

July 3, 2018

Pedagogy Content
Attending to student ideas
Physics Content
Newton's laws, Electrostatics

Lesson Contents (3 MB)Student Handout
Transcript, discussion questions, and problem

(2 MB)Specific Lesson Guide
Facilitator's guide for this lesson

(1 MB)General Facilitator's Guide
Background and best practices

(98 MB)Video
Captioned video


Sample Discussion Prompts

  1. What strikes you about this episode? Tell your neighbor what you noticed.

  2. Caleb’s initial explanation (line 4) makes it sound a little like the force is a substance emanating from the fan. Would it be a problem if someone was thinking of force that way at this point in the tutorial, or not?

  3. In line 16, Deb makes an analogy with a Newton’s third law example. What analogy does she make?

  4. Bridget also makes an analogy: she says something about a bowling ball and a golf ball that experience the same drag. Is she agreeing with Caleb, Deb, both, or neither?

  5. What student ideas about forces and fields are indicated in this episode?

Collections featuring this lesson

Colorado LA Pedagogy Course21 LESSONS Best of Periscope11 LESSONS Student ideas14 LESSONS

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