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Could Games be the Most Effective Strategy of Learning Physics?

  1. Dec 20, 2013 #1
    As you can see, children of this generation really misuse a games purpose. When, you can study things, and find out the comparisons of the physics to the "law of physics". You see, you can find the gravitational acceleration in just a building game.
    I'll speak more later
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 20, 2013 #2


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    There are some games designed purely for studying.
    There are others designed for fun(Using physics Engine eg: Gravity,collisions etc)
    Games like GTA Vice city can sometimes help in studying physics too.(My case lol)
    Moreover,even Tom and Jerry help me to study physics.(most unlikely but its true)

    So it all depends on how interested you are in these things and basically how 'you' think.
  4. Dec 21, 2013 #3
    Really? Name one bit of physics you've learned from either of those games. You can't learn physics by just playing around with simulations based on very simplified models. You can't even rely on your experience and intuition gained by playing around with a real physics engine (e.g. the real world), as anyone who studies physics should know.

    You have to do it the old fashioned way - learn the math, understand the basic assumptions and emperical facts that a particular theory is based on, and be able to work through the machinery provided by that theory to do calculations.

    Simulations are enormously useful for studying physics, but only when you've learned the physics properly first. On their own they are useless.
  5. Dec 21, 2013 #4


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    If you're just playing a game, I fail to see how you might garner any real physical insight from it, except from maybe, figuring out of the flight arc of a crossbow bolt in call of duty. That wont actually help you learn physics, but you might be able to intuitively translate it if you ever find yourself armed with a crossbow in a zombie apocalypse. Hey, the bolts fly in an arc! Now if you're playing a real flight simulator, this could also intuitively teach you about physics, but the point here isn't about learning the physics itself.

    If you're designing game physics, or playing around in SFML, and actually want to replicate real life physics... Well you'd be forced to actually learn them so that you could put them in your game. So the game itself isn't teaching you anything, but the designing of the game might.

    Could you design a game that concretely teaches physics? Sure, but then you'd just call it computer based training, not a game.
  6. Dec 23, 2013 #5


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    I said Vice city HELP me STUDY physics.I did not say games are physics themselves.
    There may be a ramp(Stunting) in Vice city and the maximum height the car reaches is related to the slope of the ramp.This itself does not teach physics.It raises questions:In which way is it related?Find an equation for the relation.
    Then this leads to do math,physics,study physics,study maths to find the answer.You don't get ideas from heaven.You have to deduce them yourself.
    You don't suddenly think about some slopes.For me games help me bring ideas to mind.

    Tom and jerry,on the other hand, is purely for fun so is Vice city.
  7. Dec 23, 2013 #6

    Andy Resnick

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    This idea- computer simulations as a teaching tool- has gotten a lot of attention, especially in the context of introductory lab work. IMO, there isn't a clear, compelling, benefit to replacing direct hands-on experience with simulations.

    To be sure, there are lots of good resources- PhET (http://phet.colorado.edu/) is particularly well-developed. I can't find the link right now, but there's a really cool applet that lets you create linked mass-spring systems to 'make' objects that can walk, roll, etc.

    However, none of these, IMO, really teach the underlying physics- the physics is a given, hidden in the code, and the user simply plays with applications.
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