I find it interesting that this phase of problem solving is something my students feel very comfortable with. I think I know why, It’s a recipe!
Specifically my students have already learned the physics, and they know exactly what to do to get answer. In fact here is the recipe I gave them:
They used this to actually calculate the acceleration and the stopping time of the Ford Focus in the above video.
Students tell me this is easier than what we have been doing this year. I agree. I believe this is a necessary part of engineering physics. Calculations are of course why we use equations.
However I asked this in a previous blog post, and I ask it again: Are the students actually being taught anything?