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The Physics Teacher
written by Edward F. Redish
This 2021 report in The Physics Teacher journal is one of a series of five articles by noted physics educator E.F. Redish on the use and utilization of mathematics in physics. Making meaning with math in physics requires blending physical conceptual knowledge with mathematical symbology. Students in introductory physics classes often struggle with this, but it is an essential component of learning how to think with math. Teaching the dimensionality of measured quantities and dimensional analysis (DA) is a valuable first step in helping them learn to appreciate this difference. In this article, Dr. Redish describes the crucial importance of the teacher as facilitator to promote a true understanding of dimensionality, often a stumbling block for students. He provides examples of using "e-games" (knowledge building strategies or epistemic games) that blend physical concepts with math symbology. He also points out pitfalls that can result from the standard notation for dimensionality (brackets) and explores ways to help students understand D.A. as a code.

The author and publisher are temporarily offering this article for free access.
The Physics Teacher: Volume 59, Issue 6, Pages 397-400
Editor's Note: See Related Materials for links to the five additional articles that comprise this series. They consist of a Collection Overview plus articles covering the topics of estimation, anchor equations, toy models, and functional dependence.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Foundations
- Problem Solving
= Frameworks
= Processes
Education Practices
- Pedagogy
General Physics
- Measurement/Units
= Units and Dimensional Analysis
- Scientific Reasoning
Other Sciences
- Life Sciences
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Article
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
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Formats:
text/html
application/pdf
Access Rights:
Limited free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-No derivatives 4.0 license.
Rights Holder:
Redish, E.F.
DOI:
10.1119/5.0021244
NSF Numbers:
DUE-1504366
DUE-1624478
Keywords:
IPLS, Introductory Physics for Life Sciences, fundamental constants, sense making
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created May 18, 2023 by Sam McKagan
Record Updated:
June 22, 2023 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 2, 2021
Other Collections:

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Record Link
AIP Format
E. Redish, , Phys. Teach. 59 (6), 397 (2021), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0021244).
AJP/PRST-PER
E. Redish, Using Math in Physics: 1. Dimensional Analysis, Phys. Teach. 59 (6), 397 (2021), <https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0021244>.
APA Format
Redish, E. (2021, September 2). Using Math in Physics: 1. Dimensional Analysis. Phys. Teach., 59(6), 397-400. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0021244
Chicago Format
Redish, Edward F.. "Using Math in Physics: 1. Dimensional Analysis." Phys. Teach. 59, no. 6, (September 2, 2021): 397-400, https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0021244 (accessed 26 May 2024).
MLA Format
Redish, Edward F.. "Using Math in Physics: 1. Dimensional Analysis." Phys. Teach. 59.6 (2021): 397-400. 26 May 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0021244>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Edward F. Redish", Title = {Using Math in Physics: 1. Dimensional Analysis}, Journal = {Phys. Teach.}, Volume = {59}, Number = {6}, Pages = {397-400}, Month = {September}, Year = {2021} }
Refer Export Format

%A Edward F. Redish %T Using Math in Physics: 1. Dimensional Analysis %J Phys. Teach. %V 59 %N 6 %D September 2, 2021 %P 397-400 %U https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0021244 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Redish, Edward F. %D September 2, 2021 %T Using Math in Physics: 1. Dimensional Analysis %J Phys. Teach. %V 59 %N 6 %P 397-400 %8 September 2, 2021 %U https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0021244


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Using Math in Physics: 1. Dimensional Analysis:

Accompanies Using Math in Physics: Overview

A link to the overview article by E.F. Redish that explains how all items in this collection are related to the topic, "Using Math in Physics".

relation by Caroline Hall
Accompanies Using Math in Physics: 2. Estimation

This is a link to the second in this series of five articles: "Using Math in Physics 2: Estimation".

relation by Caroline Hall
Accompanies Using Math in Physics: 3. Anchor equations

A link to the third in this series of five articles: "Using Math in Physics 3: Anchor Equations".

relation by Caroline Hall
Accompanies Using Math in Physics: 5. Functional dependence

A link to the fifth in this series of five articles: "Using Math in Physics 5: Functional Dependence".

relation by Caroline Hall

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