Day 130: WTF?
Today in college-prep physics we were discussing problem solving strategies. And for many kids, the default strategy is to look for a single sure-fire equation that will answer the problem in one step.
How many times have you had a student working on a problem in class or on an exam and say:
"What's the formula for mass?"
"We never learned an equation for height!"
"How can I calculate the kinetic energy if you don't give me the speed?"
Clearly these students are having a WTF moment (in more ways than one): What's The Formula?
I told the class that when they have a WTF moment, they've lost sight of the big picture and fundamental principles. Anyone have any insights on how to change student's default mode for problem solving?