The Physics Of A Physics Class For Four Years Now

Decent Essays

1) I was taught early on by Dr. Jacobson in PHYS 109 to employ a common five step process that I always use in physics (every physics class for four years now). The steps are: 1) Identify the givens (draw/label), 2) Identify what it takes to be solved (or what specific quantity the question asks for), 3) Write down all useful relations involving both the givens and what is needed to solve, 4) Attempt to solve, 5) Reflect on the feasibility of solution or correctness. This process is good and does not fail me; however, I always use it no matter if a problem is trivial or not. My consistent leaning on this process has a downside. It not only restricts me to a sequential form of thinking about solutions (possibly masking alternative approaches), but I often take much longer on physics problems than most. I am the type of student with good to high grades on homework assignments, but poor- passing, but poor performance on tests. I don’t believe this category of student is uncommon. As a student, I feel that I have comparably infinite time to work on a tough homework problem than the blip of time allotted to a problem on a test. I think other students share that outlook. To elaborate more on the downside of my loyal use of the above process I note that there are many problems in physics with different approaches to solutions (it’s one of the things I love about physics). By sticking hard to the above process, I often grab the first approach that pops out of relations in step

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