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*From*: Jon Bell <jtbell@cs1.presby.edu>*Date*: Fri, 29 Mar 1996 16:34:48 +0000

Rick Tarara <rtarara@saintmarys.edu> wrote:

[...] I HATE books that produce a separate set of kinematics

equations for projectile motion (with y's for the vertical motion and

substituting 'g' for the acceleration). This just reinforces student's

belief that physics is just a bunch of equations to be

memorized--specific equations for each problem. I force students to work

such problems with ONLY the 4 standard kinematics equations--WHICH I

constantly stress are all derived FROM the DEFINITION of acceleration!

I've something like this, but I used just *two* kinematic equations:

x = x0 + v0*t + 0.5*a*t^2

v = v0 + a*t

One constructs a standardized diagram that looks something like this:

start (a = ?) ---> finish

X---------------------------------------X

(t0 = 0) t = ?

x0 = ? x = ?

v0 = ? v = ?

Then one fills in whatever initial quantities are given, and solves the x

and t equations as necessary to get the unknowns. This means re-deriving

the other two "basic kinematic equations" every time one needs them. Of

course, most students prefer to memorize the equations instead.

--

Jon Bell <jtbell@presby.edu> Presbyterian College

Dept. of Physics and Computer Science Clinton, South Carolina USA

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