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Students' difficulties with equations involving circuit elements Documents

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Students' difficulties with equations involving circuit elements 

written by Jing Li and Chandralekha Singh

We discuss an investigation exploring students' difficulties with equations involving resistance, capacitance and inductance. We find that introductory physics students have great difficulty understanding, e.g., how the resistance of an ohmic resistor can be written in terms of the potential difference across it and the current through it, but it does not change when the potential difference across the resistor is varied. Similar confusions arose in problems relating to capacitors and inductors. We discuss these difficulties with equations in the context of introductory physics students' performance on questions about circuit elements both in the free-response and multiple-choice formats.

Published February 6, 2012
Last Modified April 25, 2012

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