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How to solve Physics Problems. Risorsa per il CLIL di Fisica in lingua inglese

red - Di seguito alcuni consigli utili su come risolvere i problemi di fisica. La risorsa può essere proposta agli studenti delle classi in cui sono attivi percorsi CLIL di fisica in lingua inglese.

Problem Solving

When solving physics problems there is a series of steps that should be followed. In the early problems that we’ll be doing, it’ll be possible to skip some steps and still get the correct answer.

But that won’t give you a chance to practice the methods that you’ll need to solve more difficult problems. It’s wise to learn how to swim in the shallow end of the pool, but if all you do is stand up there, it won’t be much help when the water gets deep. So, please use the following approach on all the problems you solve right from the beginning. It’ll pay off in the end.

1. Read the problem carefully and underline, or make note of, any information that seems like it may be useful.

2. Read the problem through again, but now start writing down the information that will be of value to you. Identify what is being asked for and what is being given.

3. If appropriate, draw a sketch.

4. Identify a formula that relates to the information that you’ve been given to the information you’ve been to asked to solve for.

5. Rearrange the formula so it’s solved for the variable you’re looking for. This means, get that variable to be alone on the left side of the equals sign.

6. Substitute in the values you’ve been given, including units.

7. Calculate the numerical result.

8. Solve for the units on the right side of the equation and compare those to the units that are appropriate for what you’re solving for. For instance, if you’re solving for distance, the units should be in meters not meters per second.

9. Reread the problem and make sure that your answer makes sense. It’s been shown that successful physics students read each problem at least three times.

(by Goodman & Zavorotniy)

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