Reflection: Staircase of Complexity Practicing Newton's Second Law - Section 2: Misconception Check

I've noticed that students see F=ma, and automatically think that they've got Newton's Laws in the bag - it's easy. Especially after a unit of projectiles and kinematic equations, students see those 3 little letters and automatically think that it can't be THAT difficult.

For the most part I'd agree with them, but the conceptual development of Newton's Second Law is crucial for students to be successful in their understanding of motion. Students automatically associate force with motion, but they need to start associating force with acceleration or a change in velocity. That's why today's misconception check is so important to building a staircase of complexity. We start with those simple 3 little letters and turn it into something that defines the large majority of topics we cover in AP Physics 1.

Building on "Easy"
Staircase of Complexity: Building on "Easy"

Practicing Newton's Second Law

Unit 3: Newton's Laws
Lesson 8 of 16

Big Idea: So many forces, so little time! Today, students collaboratively solve problems using Newton's Second Law.

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50 minutes

Sara Leins

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