Online reading assignment: confusing Midterm 1 physics topics

Physics 205A Reading Assignment 12, fall semester 2012
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Originally uploaded by Waifer X

Wordle.net tag cloud for confusing topics covered in Midterm 1, generated by responses from Physics 205A students at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA (www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/5860302/Untitled).

Students have a weekly online reading assignment (hosted by SurveyMonkey.com), where they answer questions based on reading their textbook, material covered in previous lectures, opinion questions, and/or asking (anonymous) questions or making (anonymous) comments. Full credit is given for completing the online reading assignment before next week's lecture, regardless if whether their answers are correct/incorrect. Selected results/questions/comments are addressed by the instructor at the start of the following lecture.

List at least three words describing confusing subjects covered in class (up through this midterm). (Graded for completion.)

[These raw responses were subsequently edited to consolidate related common subjects.]

Student responses
Sections 70854, 70855
"Free Body Diagrams (just kidding! only sometimes they are confusing)"

"vectors, knowing which equation to use, angles"

"There are to many confusing subject just, N3 and some Free-Body Diagrams."

"The most confusing topics on this midterm will personally be projectile motion, interpreting kinematic graphs, and uniform circular motion."

"chain of pain, trig, velocity"

"Static friction, kinetic friction, net force"

"it'll be great"

"Newtons Third Law"

"acceleration, need some trig review, need review on the formula usage."

"Acceleration velocity, projectile Motion"

"Relative velocity and constant acceleration"

"Confusing, Challenging and difficult is how I would describe the subjects i have trouble with in this course. the things I have trouble with are uniform or non uniform circular motion and free body diagrams."

"circular motion, radial accel, free body diagrams"

"Projectile motion, free body diagrams"

"vectors projectile trajectory net force component"

"vectors, angular speed, horizontal displacement"


"Free body diagrams, newtons laws, projectile motion"

"Interactions, normal force, uniform circular motion, Newton's laws"

"N3, projectile motion, circular motion"

"Circular Motion, Newton's Laws, Uniform Circular Motion."

Describe your most confusing subject, and briefly explain why this subject interested you. (Graded for completion.)

The following are all of the student responses to this question, verbatim and unedited.
"Not so much a particular subject as it would be finding the right strategy...that's the toughest part of the class for me."

"adding and subtracting vectors has never made any sense to me"

"Newtons 3rd law. Especially confusing because doesn't matter the mass or velocity of two object in a collision, the force exerted is the same. Hard to understand why."

"Projectile motion continues to be a perplexing subject for me. I believe this is because most of the questions posed about it involve many variables and given values to utilize to find the values needed, a process which involves many steps and calculations that can become unclear."

"I think I struggled most with the initial and final velocities and their components."

"Static and kinetic friction. i just dont understand them."

"The most confusing subject would be forces just because it is easy to mess up on. But a little more studying will hopefully clear things up."

"The conceptual part of this class makes sense to me, however I desire to know how to use these formulas proficiently."

"Projectile motion I always screw up . Think I understand it then when I do it I always miss something switch something or just plain screw Up"

"Newtons second and third laws and how to figure out which to use when"

"I have had the most trouble with uniform circular motion problems in this midterm. I have also had trouble with problems involving kinetic friction. I think that these problems end up being hard because I am not great at setting up the free body diagrams. mv^2/R. I dont know how to apply it."

"I still am concerned with projectile motion. It confuses me, when we bring trig into it. I understand trig, but when we add the cos 30 as part of a final or initial velocity, then putting that into the equations and getting out the correct answer; I become fuzzy."

"I think that although it is interesting, force is also very confusing. There are so many factors and components that could change the entire problem."

"im confused with some questions regarding cars driving on unbanked curves and if they skid or not"

"Coefficients of friction - The equation involving this is the one I forget the most. However, I like reading about friction because I am into cars, and want to learn how to drift."

"Newtons first and third law can be confused because of their definitions and that is why i find them a little confusing."

"Drawing free body diagrams is confusing to me because I keep flipping some of the forces around."

"Projectile can be extrmely confusing at some points, but it is getting easier with practice and applications"

"I found newtons 3rd law confusing"

"Circular motion. I understand the basic concepts, but I can't figure out how to do correct calculations for it."

"I don't feel confident on the uniform circular forces. since i can only relate to a little examples of it makes it more difficult for me."

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