Equations in physics help us to solve problems, but this isn’t immediately obvious to students. I try to motivate the utility of equations in my lessons by following a similar method for each equation. Here, I’ll use the example of calculating the work done when pushing an object. A lot of the inspiration for this comes from Gethyn Jones article in Impact on p-prims – how you go about priming the students to appreciate whether relationships are proportional or inversely proportional or something else. I want students to “see the physics” and then use their knowledge to feel confident in performing calculations, appreciating why they’re useful and how they relate to the underlying physics concept.
I start by drawing out a situation that is typically a comparison between two different scenarios (cue award winning drawing)