9-13 July 2012
Africa/Johannesburg timezone
<a href="http://events.saip.org.za/internalPage.py?pageId=11&confId=14"><font color=#ff0000>SAIP2012 PROCEEDINGS AVAILABLE</font></a>

Investigating the causes of unsatisfactory performance on the Physics section involving vectors in basic mechanics

11 Jul 2012, 11:35
Oral Presentation Track E - Physics Education Education


Mr Paul Molefe (University of Johannesburg)

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Abstract content <br> &nbsp; (Max 300 words)

Students’ conceptual difficulties associated with mechanics as a broad conceptual area are well documented. Adequate understanding of vectors in relation to forces and equilibrium systems is central to successful solving of mechanics problems in a variety of conceptual settings. However, a section on vectors is perceived to be a difficult area by a significant number of students even in subsequent stages of their degree studies. It has been observed that students’ largely positive response before assessment does not translate into satisfactory performance during the assessment. Thus, a particular focused attention to this section is crucial as it lays a solid foundation for the overall meaningful conceptual understanding of mechanics. The results of the investigation carried out in this regard suggest that students have inadequate knowledge and understanding of magnitude, direction and the significance of free-body diagrams as basic tools to aid understanding. In addition, students also appear to encounter difficulties with the use of trigonometric ratios.

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Primary author

Mr Paul Molefe (University of Johannesburg)


Mrs Buyi Sondezi-Mhlungu (University of Johannesburg)

Presentation Materials

Peer reviewing