home - login - register

PERC 2018 Abstract Detail Page

Previous Page  |  New Search  |  Browse All

Abstract Title: Learning to Apply Coulomb's Law Consistently: It's Complicated
Abstract: It is well known that students have difficulty with the superposition of electric forces and fields and there have been useful investigations into the nature of those difficulties.  But what if a source of such difficulties lies in students' understanding and acceptance of the most basic relation about electric charge interactions?  We report on an investigation to see how consistently students use Coulomb's law for a variety of tasks where the same two charges are put into situations with other items (additional charges and/or insulators or conductors) present.  Students in the second semester of an algebra-based introductory physics course were post-tested with a set of ten tasks.  We found two main contributors to the inability of students to apply Coulomb's law consistently: confusion between a single force and net force, and presence of additional items (charges or insulators/conductors) which students think alter the interaction of the two charges.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session II
Poster Number: B54

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: David P. Maloney
Purude University Fort Wayne
2101 East Coliseum Blvd
Fort Wayne, IN 46805
Phone: 260-481-6292
and Co-Presenter(s)
Samuel A. Cook, Purdue University Fort Wayne