Many students are unable to identify correctly the forces acting on each object in a situation where two or more objects interact
This may mean that students commonly struggle to construct accurate free-body diagrams.
Resources to Address This
This resource provides a discussion framework for analysing interactions between objects.View Resource
Cardboard arrows (5-11 and 11-14)
Using cardboard arrows to build up force diagrams.View Resource
- Clement, J. () "Students' alternative conceptions in mechanics: a coherent system of preconceptions?" in H. Helm, and J. D. Novak (eds.), Proceedings of the International Seminar: Misconceptions in Science and Mathematics. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 310-315.
This study highlighted common ideas among students, including the ideas that a force can be used up; a force inside a moving object is what keeps it going and if there is motion, there must be a force in the direction of motion. They suggest teachers develop metaphors which organise intuitions the student already has.
- diSessa, A. () Unlearning Aristotelian Physics: A Study of Knowledge-Based Learning. Cognitive Science, 6 (1), 37-75.
- Brown, D. E. () Students' Concept of Force: The Importance of Understanding Newton's Third Law. Physics Education, 24 (6), 353-357.