Wittmann, Anderson, and Smith on teaching Newton's Second Law

Michael C. Wittmann, Mindi Kvaal Anderson, and Trevor I. Smith
Comparing Three Methods for Teaching Newton's Second Law
AIP Conf. Proc. -- November 5, 2009 -- Volume 1179, pp. 301-304

As a follow-up to a study comparing learning of Newton's Third Law when using three different forms of tutorial instruction, we have compared student learning of Newton's Second Law (NSL) when students use the Tutorials in Introductory Physics, Activity-Based Tutorials, or Open Source Tutorials. We split an algebra-based, life sciences physics course in 3 groups and measured students' pre- and post-instruction scores on the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation (FMCE). We look at only the NSL-related clusters of questions on the FMCE to compare students' performance and normalized gains. Students entering the course are not significantly different, and students using the Tutorials in Introductory Physics show the largest normalized gains in answering question on the FMCE correctly. These gains are significant in only one cluster of questions, the Force Sled cluster.