1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Five Frequently Fatal Freshman Physics Fantasies

  1. Jan 22, 2016 #1
    http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0605/0605152.pdf

    I was reminded of this paper this week while preparing a number of Calc 3 instructional videos for a new YouTube channel. An abridged version was published by Physics Education, but I prefer the 3 page version which discusses:

    The Fantasy of the Miracle Finish
    The Fantasy of the Soft Hearted Professor
    The Fantasy that College is a Simple Extension of High School
    The Fantasy that Weak Areas Won’t Be Tested
    and
    The Fantasy that Passing is More Important than Learning

    A number of colleagues have found it useful to link or paraphrase our paper in their introductory course materials, and I thought students and faculty here might also find it useful.

    Edited to add link to video.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 22, 2016 #2

    ZapperZ

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    There are only 5?!

    :)

    Zz.
     
  4. Jan 22, 2016 #3
    Let's list more :smile:

    Don't forget to add them to our media area!

    btw, I think you should have titled the paper "Five Frequently Fatal Freshman Fhysics Fantasies" :biggrin:
     
  5. Jan 22, 2016 #4

    blue_leaf77

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Like fantasy that you could excel in all courses while having a serious relationship with an opposite gender?
     
  6. Jan 22, 2016 #5
    That was my excuse! :wink:
     
  7. Jan 22, 2016 #6

    Nugatory

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The wording of the title (both paper and thread) make it clear that these five are drawn from a potentially larger set. :smile:
    A question for further research would be whether there an upper bound on the cardinality of that set.
     
  8. Jan 22, 2016 #7

    Orodruin

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    ##\aleph_{215}##
     
  9. Jan 22, 2016 #8

    micromass

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    Is that more or less than the amount of real numbers to you?
     
  10. Jan 22, 2016 #9

    StatGuy2000

    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Courtney's summary of the 5 frequently fatal freshman physics mistakes. I would only add that these mistakes are not unique to freshman physics courses -- the same fatal errors also apply to math courses, or really any STEM course (and to many humanities & social science studies as well).
     
  11. Jan 22, 2016 #10

    Orodruin

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Yes.
     
  12. Jan 22, 2016 #11

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Nice article! I also agree with it and always try to instill the idea in the students I tutor that success in physics and math requires consistent practice.
     
  13. Jan 22, 2016 #12

    micromass

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    So definitely not equal, good to know.
     
  14. Jan 22, 2016 #13

    RJLiberator

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Good read, I am very intimate with all of them! Fortunately, I've chosen to avoid them (most of the time).
     
  15. Jan 22, 2016 #14

    Mark44

    Staff: Mentor

    I was going to give this answer, but Orodruin beat me to it.

    I'm confident that the cardinality of the reals is not equal to ##\aleph_{215}##. Could be more, could be less, but definitely not equal. :oldbiggrin:

    @Dr. Courtney, interesting article. I hope students take it to heart. One thing that puzzles me is how students can reasonably study with all kinds of distractions going - music, TV, etc. If they're able to do this, more power to them, but I find that these external sources of "noise" detract from my ability to focus on what I'm trying to do.
     
  16. Jan 22, 2016 #15

    e.bar.goum

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Of course, people in same-gender relationships have no such issues with balancing coursework and relationships. :rolleyes:
     
  17. Jan 22, 2016 #16

    jasonRF

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I must confess that as a student I sometimes thought getting a good grade meant that I was learning.
     
  18. Jan 22, 2016 #17

    Ken G

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I'd add:
    The fantasy that things that sound right when the instructor says them will leap into your own mind when you have to do it yourself on the test. But learning does not look like a judgement that something someone else says make sense, it looks like a judgement that something you say yourself makes sense.

    The fantasy that copying someone else's solution is the same thing as solving the problem yourself. If that is your strategy, you better sit next to that person at exam time.

    The fantasy that the learning process should not feel uncomfortable or frustrating at any time, so if it does, do something else. Actually, learning typically does have a phase that feels uncomfortable and confusing, possibly even frustratingly so, but this is a normal phase that must be persevered through and not given up on, to reach the payoff when the "light bulb" finally goes on.
     
  19. Jan 22, 2016 #18

    Ken G

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Hopefully it usually does, but there definitely can be a phenomenon of the "illusion of learning." This is as much a caution for instructors as for students-- it works like this. The instructor says A, and the student hears it, but does not understand it. Then on the exam, the instructor asks if A, B, or C, and the student answers, A. The instructor smiles, gives the student a good grade, and imagines that the student understands A. The student, having forgotten that they never really understood A, takes their good grade as evidence that they must understand A. This is the "illusion of learning."
     
  20. Jan 22, 2016 #19

    atyy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Like in analyzing alternating current circuits, I think it us possible to get an A yet not know the electron doesn't jump across the capacitor plates.
     
  21. Jan 22, 2016 #20

    Ken G

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Ah yes, "displacement current", everybody's favorite!
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Five Frequently Fatal Freshman Physics Fantasies
Loading...