Unfortunately John, and this is what brought me into these discussions (and across the FCI), many high school classes are doing just that. I am not saying that you condone, but they are. Even some AP classes. And then add in the "teaching to the test" habit that most teachers fall into at some time or another, you end up with a rather empty physics class. And a traditional (formula based) class can suffer the same fate. It seems to turn out the worse when you have a physics teacher that doesn't understand how physics and math are often one and the same. Unfortunately, they think that its conceptual or numeric and they mis-categorize the mathematics of physics as numeric. Probably because they themselves look at math as formulas and even when they derive a formula (for the class) it is obvious that they don't get it and are doing a rote recitation. The mathematics of physics is actually conceptual. It is only that some problems have a numerical conclusion. If I ask you if gauss's law would still be valid if electrostatic force was inversely proportional to distance alone, rather than its square, and why, that would be mathematically conceptual. Or if I asked does a projectile always fall to earth and why it might not, that to is mathematically conceptual.
I think the FCI is an great teaching tool. I've always known it by its other name, "thought experiments", which I think were born in physics classes.
On Jan 27, 2012, at 6:42 PM, John Clement wrote:
> I suspect that some may think that > conceptual exams are used to pass or fail the students, and this is never > done. It is really used to quantify how well students are understanding > material.
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