Ranking Task Exercises in Physics: Student Edition

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9780131448513: Ranking Task Exercises in Physics: Student Edition

This book features Ranking Task exercises - an innovative type of conceptual exercise that challenges readers to make comparative judgments about a set of variations on a particular physical situation. Two-hundred-and-eighteen exercises encourage readers to formulate their own ideas about the behavior of a physical system, correct any misconceptions they may have, and build a better conceptual foundation of physics. Covering as many topic domains in physics as possible, the book contains Kinematics Ranking Tasks, Force Ranking Tasks, Projectile and Other Two-Dimensional Motion Ranking Tasks, Work-Energy Ranking Tasks, Impulse-Momentum Ranking Tasks, Rotation Ranking Tasks, SHM and Properties of Matter Ranking Tasks, Heat and Thermodynamics Ranking Tasks, Electrostatics Ranking Tasks, DC Circuit Ranking Tasks, Magnetism and Electromagnetism Ranking Tasks, and Wave and Optics Ranking Tasks. For anyone who wants a better conceptual understanding of the many areas of physics.

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From the Back Cover:

This student text contains 218 Ranking Task Exercises that cover all classical physics topics. Ranking Tasks are an innovative type of conceptual exercise that asks students to make comparative judgments about a set of variations on a particular physical situation. These exercises were developed by participants in the Two-Year College (TYC) Physics Workshop Project sponsored by Joliet Junior College, Lee College, and a series of grants from the Division of Undergraduate Education of the National Science Foundation, and were edited by Thomas L. O'Kuma (Lee College), David P. Maloney (Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne), and Curtis J. Hieggelke (Joliet Junior College).

Those who have used Ranking Tasks have found that they frequently elicit students' natural ideas, rather than a memorized response, about the behavior of a given physical system. In addition, asking students to consider the same situation in a variety of ways often helps them begin to correct any misconceptions they may have. When students realize that they have given different answers to variations of the same question, they begin to think about why they responded as they did in each case. This, in turn, prompts them to consider which responses they believe in more strongly, and why.

The basic structure of a Ranking Task comprises four elements:
  • a description of the physical situation, including any constraints and the basis for ranking different arrangements
  • a set of figures showing the different arrangements of the situation to be compared
  • a place to record the ranking of each variation
  • a place to explain the reason for each ranking choice

Prentice Hall is proud to publish this book as part of its Series in Educational Innovation.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

This workbook is designed to be a resource for students to deepen their understanding of physic. Students need to get beyond the "memorize and recall" approach and this workbook will be useful for that purpose. The tasks in this manual ask the user to apply the ideas that are being learned in a new way. Using the ideas in different ways will get the user to think about those ideas in more breadth and depth, leading to a stronger understanding.

The tasks in this manual grew out of investigations into students thinking about physics as they were learning the subject. These tasks are likely to be quite different from the tasks you have encountered in other math and science courses. They are different in several ways. First, comparing several similar situations to each other, rather than finding a particular value associated with a situation, is likely to be new. This novelty may make doing ranking tasks uncomfortable since you may feel insecure about how to determine such comparisons. Practice will make this reaction fade.

A second way these tasks differ from more familiar ones is that a number of these tasks will contain irrelevant information. Since you are probably used to problems where all information provided needs to be used, the job of having to determine whether, and what, information may be irrelevant may be challenging until you get used to it. But you should be aware that problems in real life very often require determining what information is needed and what information can be ignored. Since that is the case it is worthwhile to have some practice with such problems in academic settings also.

Another difference is that these tasks ask you to determine and write a ranking, then explain the reasoning/work behind your ranking sequence, and finally indicate a confidence level for your work. It is important to explicitly write out your explanations, even when you are doing the items for yourself, because you will often find that your thinking will change and improve when you try to explain what you did and why you did it.

A fourth difference is that there are groups of related tasks throughout the workbook. The tasks in these groupings can be related in a number of ways. For example, the situations in two tasks may be exactly the same, but the basis for the ranking may be different. Thinking about the similarities and differences among tasks in such groupings can provide very useful insights into the physics of the situations.

This workbook is designed to be useful for students in all introductory-level physics courses, so some of the tasks included may involve ideas, and/or mathematics, specific to other courses. Please do not be concerned if some of the tasks seem not related to your course or background.

Since the format for the ranking tasks in this workbook is most likely unfamiliar to you, you would be well advised to spend a little time getting used to the format itself before trying to deal with these tasks. To aid in the familiarization process we have 15rovided several example tasks showing how to complete the tasks correctly. We do strongly encourage you to read and study these introductory materials so that you feel comfortable with the structure and response process for ranking tasks before you start these physics ranking tasks.

When you approach a ranking task you should not try to think of some equation that uses the quantities given and then plug the values in to find the "answers." As mentioned above, many of the ranking tasks contain irrelevant information, in some cases all of the numerical values provided are irrelevant. So if you automatically take a "plug and chug" approach to the ranking tasks you will find that you are often going to be doing calculations for nothing. The best way to tackle a ranking task is to think about how you expect the object/system in the physical situation to behave. Then use the given information to determine the specific comparisons among the given variations.

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