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The Physics Teacher
written by Edward F. Redish
An important step in learning to use math in science is learning to see symbolic equations not just as calculational tools, but as ways of expressing fundamental relationships among physical quantities, of coding conceptual information, and of organizing physics knowledge structures. Introductory physics can be of special value to students in other disciplines because we can introduce mechanistic thinking and synthesis in simpler situations than can biology, chemistry, Earth science, or even engineering. We can show that mechanistic model building and synthesis are often tied together by powerful equations, so students can learn the value of mathematics, not as something to be memorized, but as something to support complex reasoning, analysis, and powerful descriptions of physical systems. This paper by noted physics education researcher E.F. Redish proposes and explores "anchor equations" as a construct to support teaching and learning in introductory physics. The author defines, describes, and gives multiple examples of anchor equations and how they can be used to support development of students' mathematical sense-making.

NOTE: This resource, highly recommended by the Physics Front editors, has been made temporarily available by the author and publisher for free access.
The Physics Teacher: Volume 59, Issue 8, Pages 599-604
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 dimensional analysis, estimation, toy models, and functional dependence.
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Limited free access
This article is temporarily available for free access. The Physics Teacher is a subscription-based periodical.
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© 2021 American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)
DOI:
10.1119/5.0023066
NSF Numbers:
DUE-1504366
DUE-1624478
Keywords:
constructivism, epistemology, knowledge construction, math symbology, mathematical reasoning, mechanistic reasoning, mental models, scaffolding, scientific reasoning, 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:
October 27, 2021
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AIP Format
E. Redish, , Phys. Teach. 59 (8), 599 (2021), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0023066).
AJP/PRST-PER
E. Redish, Using Math in Physics: 3. Anchor equations, Phys. Teach. 59 (8), 599 (2021), <https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0023066>.
APA Format
Redish, E. (2021, October 27). Using Math in Physics: 3. Anchor equations. Phys. Teach., 59(8), 599-604. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0023066
Chicago Format
Redish, Edward F.. "Using Math in Physics: 3. Anchor equations." Phys. Teach. 59, no. 8, (October 27, 2021): 599-604, https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0023066 (accessed 26 May 2024).
MLA Format
Redish, Edward F.. "Using Math in Physics: 3. Anchor equations." Phys. Teach. 59.8 (2021): 599-604. 26 May 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0023066>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Edward F. Redish", Title = {Using Math in Physics: 3. Anchor equations}, Journal = {Phys. Teach.}, Volume = {59}, Number = {8}, Pages = {599-604}, Month = {October}, Year = {2021} }
Refer Export Format

%A Edward F. Redish %T Using Math in Physics: 3. Anchor equations %J Phys. Teach. %V 59 %N 8 %D October 27, 2021 %P 599-604 %U https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0023066 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Redish, Edward F. %D October 27, 2021 %T Using Math in Physics: 3. Anchor equations %J Phys. Teach. %V 59 %N 8 %P 599-604 %8 October 27, 2021 %U https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0023066


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Using Math in Physics: 3. Anchor equations:

Accompanies Using Math in Physics: Overview

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

relation by Caroline Hall
Accompanies Using Math in Physics: 1. Dimensional Analysis

A link to the first in this series of five articles, "Using Math in Physics 1: Dimensional Analysis".

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

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: 4. Toy models

A link to the fourth in this series of five articles: "Using Math in Physics 4: Toy Models".

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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