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A cross-college age study about physics students' conceptions of force in pre-service training for high school teachers
written by Ricardo Trumper and Paul Gorsky
Do physics students in pre-service training to be high-school teachers hold correct scientific views that will eventually allow them to plan and implement instructional strategies which, in turn, will lead their future students to achieve a correct scientific concept of force? The results of a cross-college age study dealing with this issue will be discussed here. The force conceptions of Israeli Physics students were analysed by means of a two-part written questionnaire which was presented to them during their first day of class. The most important findings of this study can be summarized as follows. Physics students in pre-service training for high school teachers: 1) Have considerably less difficulties when dealing with forces in static situations than in dynamic ones. Nevertheless, they were rather ambivalent when referring to the necessity of the forces to be balanced in static objects; 2) Hold the Aristotelian 'impetus' misconception to a great extent. As a result of that, a considerable number of students failed to affirm that the forces acting on an object are balanced during uniform motion, and thought that a net force acts in the direction of motion. Moreover, most of them were not able to distinguish between uniform and changing motion; 3) Think to a great extent that a force (inertia) acts on moving objects resisting a push; 4) Mostly recognize weight as a force, but have difficulties in knowing its direction. Moreover, most students were inconsistent in identifying the concepts of gravity and weight; 5) Mostly recognize friction as a force and deny the incorrect view that friction relates only to moving objects; 6) Mostly recognize a simple push or pull as a force; 7) Are mostly uncertain about the addition of forces; 8) Are mostly ambivalent about affirming that motion and force need not be in the same direction; 9) Believe to a great extent that the initial force keeping an object going gradually lessens; and 10) Mostly deny the incorrect idea that gr
Physics Education: Volume 31, Issue 4, Pages 227-236
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