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American Journal of Physics
written by Hunter G. Close and Paula R. L. Heron
Students in introductory calculus-based physics were asked about the angular momentum of a particle traveling in a straight line. The tendency to state that the angular momentum is identically zero was widespread, and few students applied l = r × p correctly. The common errors reflect a tendency to conflate angular momentum with angular velocity or with linear momentum. Many students assume that linear and angular momentum are jointly conserved, an error that appears to be linked to their thinking about energy. A tutorial was developed to help students recognize that linear momentum and angular momentum are separately conserved. The results suggest that helping students understand why angular momentum is attributed to a particle moving in a straight line may be more effective in helping them to apply the concept than instructing them only on its correct use. In addition to providing insights into student learning of the concept of angular momentum, we illustrate how students' own ideas can be the basis for more effective instruction.
American Journal of Physics: Volume 79, Issue 10, Pages 1068-1078
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Rotational Dynamics
= Conservation of Angular Momentum
= Transfer of Angular Momentum
Education - Applied Research
- Active Learning
= Problem Solving
- Instructional Material Design
= Tutorial
Education - Basic Research
- Alternative Conceptions
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Professional/Practitioners
- Researchers
- Educators
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© 2011 American Association of Physics Teachers
DOI:
10.1119/1.3579141
ISSN Number:
0002-9505
NSF Numbers:
9727648
0088840
PACS:
01.40.Fk
Keywords:
Conservation of Angular Momentum, Physics, Physics education, momentum, physics teaching, student understanding
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created July 11, 2012 by Zachary Davis
Record Updated:
August 5, 2013 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
October 1, 2011
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Record Link
AIP Format
H. Close and P. Heron, Am. J. Phys. 79 (10), 1068 (2011), WWW Document, (http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.3579141).
AJP/PRST-PER
H. Close and P. Heron, Student understanding of the angular momentum of classical particles, Am. J. Phys. 79 (10), 1068 (2011), <http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.3579141>.
APA Format
Close, H., & Heron, P. (2011, October 1). Student understanding of the angular momentum of classical particles. Am. J. Phys., 79(10), 1068-1078. Retrieved November 25, 2014, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.3579141
Chicago Format
Close, Hunter, and Paula Heron. "Student understanding of the angular momentum of classical particles." Am. J. Phys. 79, no. 10, (October 1, 2011): 1068-1078, http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.3579141 (accessed 25 November 2014).
MLA Format
Close, Hunter, and Paula Heron. "Student understanding of the angular momentum of classical particles." Am. J. Phys. 79.10 (2011): 1068-1078. 25 Nov. 2014 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.3579141>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Hunter Close and Paula Heron", Title = {Student understanding of the angular momentum of classical particles}, Journal = {Am. J. Phys.}, Volume = {79}, Number = {10}, Pages = {1068-1078}, Month = {October}, Year = {2011} }
Refer Export Format

%A Hunter Close
%A Paula Heron
%T Student understanding of the angular momentum of classical particles
%J Am. J. Phys.
%V 79
%N 10
%D October 1, 2011
%P 1068-1078
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.3579141
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article
%A Close, Hunter
%A Heron, Paula
%D October 1, 2011
%T Student understanding of the angular momentum of classical particles
%J Am. J. Phys.
%V 79
%N 10
%P 1068-1078
%8 October 1, 2011
%@ 0002-9505
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.3579141


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The AJP/PRST-PER presented is based on the AIP Style with the addition of journal article titles and conference proceeding article titles.

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