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American Journal of Physics
written by John J. Clement
Data from written tests and videotaped problem-solving interviews show that many physics students have a stable, alternative view of the relationship between force and acceleration. This ''conceptual primitive'' is misunderstood at the qualitative level in addition to any difficulties that might occur with mathematical formulation. The misconception is highly resistant to change and is remarkably similar to one discussed by Galileo, as shown by comparison of his writings with transcripts from student interviews. The source of this qualitative misunderstanding can be traced to a deep-seated preconception that makes a full understanding of Newton's first and second laws very difficult. In such cases learning becomes a process in which new concepts must displace or be remolded from stable concepts that the student has constructed over many years.
American Journal of Physics: Volume 50, Issue 1, Pages 66-71
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Alternative Conceptions
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
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© 1982 American Journal of Physics
Additional information is available.
College Science, College Students, Concept Formation, Engineering Education, Higher Education, Mechanics (Physics), Misconceptions, Physics, Science Education, Science Education Research, Scientific Concepts, Student Characteristics
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created June 13, 2005 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
November 2, 2005 by Vince Kuo
Last Update
when Cataloged:
January 1, 1982
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Record Link
AIP Format
J. Clement, Am. J. Phys. 50 (1), 66 (1982), WWW Document, (http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.12989).
J. Clement, Students' preconceptions in Introductory mechanics, Am. J. Phys. 50 (1), 66 (1982), <http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.12989>.
APA Format
Clement, J. (1982, January 1). Students' preconceptions in Introductory mechanics. Am. J. Phys., 50(1), 66-71. Retrieved October 22, 2017, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.12989
Chicago Format
Clement, John. "Students' preconceptions in Introductory mechanics." Am. J. Phys. 50, no. 1, (January 1, 1982): 66-71, http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.12989 (accessed 22 October 2017).
MLA Format
Clement, John. "Students' preconceptions in Introductory mechanics." Am. J. Phys. 50.1 (1982): 66-71. 22 Oct. 2017 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.12989>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "John Clement", Title = {Students' preconceptions in Introductory mechanics}, Journal = {Am. J. Phys.}, Volume = {50}, Number = {1}, Pages = {66-71}, Month = {January}, Year = {1982} }
Refer Export Format

%A John Clement
%T Students' preconceptions in Introductory mechanics
%J Am. J. Phys.
%V 50
%N 1
%D January 1, 1982
%P 66-71
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.12989
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article
%A Clement, John
%D January 1, 1982
%T Students' preconceptions in Introductory mechanics
%J Am. J. Phys.
%V 50
%N 1
%P 66-71
%8 January 1, 1982
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.12989

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