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E&M Tutorial II: Superposition Principle and Symmetry: The case of a continuous charge distribution
written by Chandralekha Singh and the University of Pittsburgh Physics Education Research Group
This research-based student tutorial covers superposition and symmetry in electrostatics. The material is appropriate for a calculus-based introductory physics course.

The tutorial is designed for use after traditional instruction as an in-class supplement, out-of-class homework, or student self-study tool. The authors recommend that the tutorial be given in-class to students working in groups of 2-3. A majority of student groups can finish the pre-test and tutorial in a 1 hour 50 minute period.

A pre-test and post-test are available to assess student learning. If used, the pre-test should be given after traditional instruction and before the tutorial. The post-test should be given the following class so that students that do not finish the tutorial can do so at home before taking the post-test. The pre- and post-tests each require 15-20 minutes to complete. Professors may choose to give the pre-test in-class after traditional instruction, the tutorial as homework, and the post-test in the following class.

This work is based on research into students' common difficulties in learning the superposition principle and symmetry in electrostatics. Some findings are available in Student Understanding of Symmetry and Gauss's Law of Electricity, Am. J. Phys. 74 (10), 923-936 (2006). Details of the design, construction and testing of the tutorial are available in J. Li, Improving Students' Understanding of Electricity and Magnetism, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh (2012) and J. Li and C. Singh, Investigating and improving introductory physics students' understanding of electric field and the superposition principle: The case of a continuous charge distribution, Phys. Rev. PER 15, 010116 (2019).
1 supplemental document is available
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Problem Solving
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electric Fields and Potential
= Electric Field
= Gauss' Law
- Electrostatics
= Coulomb's Law
- Lower Undergraduate
- High School
- Instructional Material
= Tutorial
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Educators
- Learners
- Researchers
- application/pdf
- application/zip
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© 2006 Chandralekha Singh and the University of Pittsburgh Physics Education Research Group
Keyword:
Pitt Tutorial EM
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created January 20, 2013 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
September 18, 2023 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
June 14, 2012
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Record Link
AIP Format
C. Singh and University of Pittsburgh Physics Education Research Group, (2006), WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12592&DocID=3180).
AJP/PRST-PER
C. Singh and University of Pittsburgh Physics Education Research Group, E&M Tutorial II: Superposition Principle and Symmetry: The case of a continuous charge distribution (2006), <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12592&DocID=3180>.
APA Format
Singh, C., & University of Pittsburgh Physics Education Research Group. (2012, June 14). E&M Tutorial II: Superposition Principle and Symmetry: The case of a continuous charge distribution. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12592&DocID=3180
Chicago Format
Singh, Chandralekha, and University of Pittsburgh Physics Education Research Group. E&M Tutorial II: Superposition Principle and Symmetry: The case of a continuous charge distribution. June 14, 2012. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12592&DocID=3180 (accessed 26 May 2024).
MLA Format
Singh, Chandralekha, and University of Pittsburgh Physics Education Research Group. E&M Tutorial II: Superposition Principle and Symmetry: The case of a continuous charge distribution. 2006. 14 June 2012. 26 May 2024 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12592&DocID=3180>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Chandralekha Singh and University of Pittsburgh Physics Education Research Group", Title = {E&M Tutorial II: Superposition Principle and Symmetry: The case of a continuous charge distribution}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {26 May 2024}, Month = {June 14, 2012}, Year = {2006} }
Refer Export Format

%A Chandralekha Singh %T E&M Tutorial II: Superposition Principle and Symmetry: The case of a continuous charge distribution %D June 14, 2012 %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12592&DocID=3180 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %A Singh, Chandralekha %A University of Pittsburgh Physics Education Research Group, %D June 14, 2012 %T E&M Tutorial II: Superposition Principle and Symmetry: The case of a continuous charge distribution %V 2024 %N 26 May 2024 %8 June 14, 2012 %9 application/pdf %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12592&DocID=3180


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