# Re: Programmable Calculator Policies

*From*: "JACK L. URETSKY (C) 1996; HEP DIV., ARGONNE NATIONAL LAB, ARGONNE, IL 60439" <JLU@hep.anl.gov>
*Date*: Mon, 24 Feb 1997 19:49:36 -0600 (CST)

Hi Rick-
You write:
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It has been my experience that what students CAN'T do very well, what we
need to teach and then test, is how to SET UP problems. Our students CAN
do the algebra, trig, and even the calculus (with or without
calculators/computers) fairly well, but for the most part the algebra,
trig, and calculus are not the Physics! I've gone to giving tests where
all I want to see is the integral that would need to be solved and that is
plenty tough and can't be done by the computer.
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But:
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"...the greatest difficulty which a student has in mastering theoretical
physics comes in learning how to apply mathematics to a physical situation,
how to formulate a problem mathematically, rather than in solving the
problem when it is once formulated"
Slater and Frank, "Introduction to Theoretical Physics" (1933)
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
So what have we learned about teaching physics in 64 years?
Regards,
Jack