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American Journal of Physics
written by Luanna G. Ortiz, Paula R. L. Heron, and Peter S. Shaffer
We report on an investigation of student ability to account for static equilibrium in the simple familiar case in which an object is balanced on a frictionless pivot or fulcrum. Written questions were administered to more than 1000 university students who had completed the relevant instruction in introductory calculus-based physics. Almost all the students were able to answer questions about simple systems composed of point-like objects. However, when the mass distribution was continuous, most students attributed equilibrium to forces of equal magnitude applied on both sides of the fulcrum. Moreover, many students treated horizontal and tilted bodies, even if they were at rest, as distinct cases. The difficulties we identified were very persistent. Hands-on activities that were not influenced by research results had no discernible effect on student performance. Direct attempts to address specific difficulties using lecture demonstrations based on the research tasks described in this article led to some improvement. Greater success has been achieved by using a tutorial in which students work in small groups on experiments and exercises suggested by research findings.
American Journal of Physics: Volume 73, Issue 6, Pages 545-553
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Statics of Rigid Bodies
= Equilibrium
Education Foundations
- Alternative Conceptions
Education Practices
- Instructional Material Design
= Tutorial
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Article
= Research study
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© 2005 American Association of Physics Teachers
DOI:
10.1119/1.1862640
ISSN Number:
00029505
NSF Numbers:
9354501
9727648
PACSs:
01.50.Pa
46.00.00
Keywords:
center of mass, static equilibrium, torque
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created July 12, 2012 by Zachary Davis
Record Updated:
May 28, 2013 by Vince Kuo
Last Update
when Cataloged:
June 1, 2005
Other Collections:

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Record Link
AIP Format
L. Ortiz, P. Heron, and P. Shaffer, Am. J. Phys. 73 (6), 545 (2005), WWW Document, (http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1862640).
AJP/PRST-PER
L. Ortiz, P. Heron, and P. Shaffer, Student understanding of static equilibrium: Predicting and accounting for balancing, Am. J. Phys. 73 (6), 545 (2005), <http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1862640>.
APA Format
Ortiz, L., Heron, P., & Shaffer, P. (2005, June 1). Student understanding of static equilibrium: Predicting and accounting for balancing. Am. J. Phys., 73(6), 545-553. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1862640
Chicago Format
Ortiz, L, P. Heron, and P. Shaffer. "Student understanding of static equilibrium: Predicting and accounting for balancing." Am. J. Phys. 73, no. 6, (June 1, 2005): 545-553, http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1862640 (accessed 10 December 2017).
MLA Format
Ortiz, Luanna, Paula Heron, and Peter Shaffer. "Student understanding of static equilibrium: Predicting and accounting for balancing." Am. J. Phys. 73.6 (2005): 545-553. 10 Dec. 2017 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1862640>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Luanna Ortiz and Paula Heron and Peter Shaffer", Title = {Student understanding of static equilibrium: Predicting and accounting for balancing}, Journal = {Am. J. Phys.}, Volume = {73}, Number = {6}, Pages = {545-553}, Month = {June}, Year = {2005} }
Refer Export Format

%A Luanna Ortiz
%A Paula Heron
%A Peter Shaffer
%T Student understanding of static equilibrium: Predicting and accounting for balancing
%J Am. J. Phys.
%V 73
%N 6
%D June 1, 2005
%P 545-553
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1862640
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article
%A Ortiz, Luanna
%A Heron, Paula
%A Shaffer, Peter
%D June 1, 2005
%T Student understanding of static equilibrium: Predicting and accounting for balancing
%J Am. J. Phys.
%V 73
%N 6
%P 545-553
%8 June 1, 2005
%@ 00029505
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.1862640


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