Rob Phillips's picture

The idea behind these Work It Out videos is so simple but so important. For so many years we have just assumed that students know how to use formulae and interpret diagrams. This is just not the case. Some complex abstract thinking is required to understand these techniques (not sure if this is the right word). This abstract thinking is hard to learn, and it is rarely taught.

Do you think that there should be a more basic video and exercise to start to build this type of thinking?
Chris Creagh's picture

I think easier videos would be good and if anyone finds some that are particularly useful post the links here please for all to use.

I think formula and diagrams are part of our (physics) communications culture. This is not usually made explicit to the students. My PhD supervisor would say that students learn to be physicists by hanging out with physicists, an osmotic process of sorts. So it might be helpful to alert the students to the fact that formula and diagrams are forms of communication in many disciplines, not just the sciences. Perhaps send them off looking for examples in sport, business, architecture…

When formula and diagrams are used well they help us communicate with a higher level of precision and this, in physics at least, helps understanding and problem solving.