Students who do well in
quantitative problem solving have difficulties with purely conceptal
Give your students the following questions, on successive days.
The questions address the same issue in physics, but one provides
them an easier opportunity to just plug-n-chug.
Two blocks, one with a mass of 1 kg the other with a
mass of 2 kg, start from rest. They experience a constant force of
10 N for 1 s. What are their kinetic energies after the force has
Two blocks, one with twice the mass of the other,
start from rest. They experience the same constant force for 1 s.
Compare their kinetic energies after the force has been
Students that have this difficulty will tend to solve the first
problem with little or no hardship, but be unable to answer the
Related misconceptions/student difficulties that may arise in
use compensation arguments to incorrectly solve conceptual
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