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Modeling is used differently in physics when we say physics modeling; a few specific fundamental principles are used to construct physics models, such as linear momentum principle, energy principle, and angular momentum principle.
In almost all introductory physics courses problem solving is a main part of the course (Hsu, Brewe, Foster, & Harper, 2004).
Physics textbook chapters not only have many drill and practice problems, which are well defined and have all relevant information, but also have many solved examples of problems (Foster, 2000).
Larkin (1983) showed that experts used their domain-specific representations as a guide to solving problems before they used mathematics.
Domain-specific representations include drawing diagrams. Experts in general draw figures to understand the problem before solving, whereas novices do not have this skill (Schultz & Lockhead, 1991).
In brief, modeling in physics is defined as “making a simplified, idealized physics model of a messy real-world situation by approximations” (Chabay & Sherwood, 1999).
This is also called “physics modeling” in the physics education community.
On the other hand, students should know how to apply their physics knowledge and mathematics knowledge both qualitatively and quantitatively.
Even physics majors need problem-solving abilities in addition to understanding concepts. According to Hayes (1989), “whenever there is a gap between where you are now and where you want to be, and you do not know how to find a way to cross the gap, you have a problem.” (p.xii).
The purpose is to make students realize some problems may contain missing or extra information.
For missing information, they are required to make estimations and approximations (Henderson, 2002). They are called context-rich problems (Heller, Keith, & Anderson, 1992) or case study problems (Van Heavelen, 1991).