AAPT Abstract Archive

Abstract Information

  Session: Introductory Courses
  Paper Type: Contributed
  Title: Get Real! -- Appropriate Values for Introductory Electrostatics Problems
  Meeting: 2016 Winter Meeting: New Orleans, Louisiana
  Location: N/A
  Time: 8:30AM
  Author: Robert A. Morse, St. Albans School, retired
202-537-0759, ramorse@rcn.com
  Co-Author(s): None
  Abstract: Novice physics students must work problems using unfamiliar quantities with unfamiliar magnitudes and unfamiliar units. Good practice should be to use physically reasonable values with magnitudes within students experience, when possible. Textbook mechanics problems usually meet this criterion, but in a sampling of about 20 introductory texts, this was not usually true in simple electrostatics problems, possibly because problem posers have little experience with reasonable charge values in an introductory laboratory. Electrostatic charge sensors (1) now available let students measure actual charge values in simple electrostatic experiments, so problem writers can in many cases use values consistent with observable charge magnitudes.
  Footnotes: 1. Robert A. Morse,"Electrostatics with Computer-Interfaced Charge Sensors," Phys. Teach. 44, 498 (2006)
  Presentation: WM16_ED01_GetReal.pdf

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