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Sep24-11, 05:14 PM
P: 882
Measuring Electrical Potential and Electrical Fields without a computer

Quote Quote by piareround View Post
Students know how to calculate Gauss’s law and Electric field lines even to the point to create enclosed Gaussian surfaces when they are asked a pencil and paper problem. However, when you give them a physical object, they are completely lost and make the connection between what they did by paper and pencil to its applications in the real world.
It is much more general problem Gauss law is nothing exceptional among other laws - students (majority) are lost always if they must apply physics to real world. The way how they are taught in schools is so abstract, that they are unable to find relations between physical laws and reality. Do you remember Feynman's story about Brasilian students and polarisation of light reflected from water surface?
In some countries it is a bit better, in some a bit worse, but all over the world educational problem is the same: kids are taught to memorize formulae, then apply them to "realistic" scenarios of school excercises, which often contradict common experience.
So they learn: physics apply to excercises, the real world is ruled by common sense experience, those two have little (if any) in common.