# Questionable Authenticity of Some Problems in “Fundamentals of Physics” by Halliday, Resnick and Walker: An Initial Study of Students’ Critical Considerations

### Abstract

This study is an initial exploration of students’ abilities to analyze critically authenticity of physics problems, carried out with Spanish translation of the eight Edition of popular physics textbook “Fundamentals of Physics”, written by Halliday, Resnick and Walker. Students (N = 34) involved in the study were those of applied physics taking a general first-semester course “Development of Complex Thinking Skills” at the Facultad de Ciencias Físico Matemáticas of the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (Puebla, Mexico). Among the aims of the course is development of 21st century 4C-skills (critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration and communication) through self-regulated learning. In the segment of the course dedicated to critical thinking, students were informed about characteristics of authentic school problems and their task was to analyze authenticity of some problems in textbook “Fundamentals of Physics”, they use in their Mechanics course. They were supposed to pay attention to authenticity of events, data and questions used in contextualized physics problems. Results show that students are able to perform critical considerations, focusing their attention mainly on the events’ characteristics, less on the sense of questions asked and much less on data feasibility. Only one student indicated that given data in a problem seem unrealistic. Nevertheless, such a particular consideration is very important because many textbook reviewers, holding PhD in physics, were not able to detect that erroneous implicit density value in four editions during almost ten years. Some students paid attention to broader issues implied by supposed events (for example, about animal rights). Their critical considerations of negative role of non-authentic problems have in physics learning are briefly mentioned, too.### References

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Evans, J. S. B. (2003). In two minds: dual-process accounts of reasoning. Trends in cognitive sciences, 7(10), 454-459.

Fabby, C., & Koening, K. (2015). Examining the Relationship of Scientific Reasoning with Physics Problem Solving. J. of STEM Education: Innovation and Research, 16(4), 20-26.

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Halliday, D., & Resnick, R. (1970). Fundamentals of Physics. 1st Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Halliday, D., Resnick, R., & Walker, J. (2005). Fundamentals of Physics. 7th Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Halliday, D., Resnick, R., & Walker, J. (2008). Fundamentals of Physics. 8th Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Halliday, D., Resnick, R., & Walker, J. (2009). Fundamentos de Física. Volumen 1, Octava edición. Ciudad de México: Grupo Editorial Patria.

Halliday, D., Resnick, R., & Walker, J. (2011). Fundamentals of Physics. 9th Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Halliday, D., Resnick, R., & Walker, J. (2014). Fundamentals of Physics. 10th Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Khine, M. (2013). Critical analysis of science textbooks. Dordrecht: Springer.

Hegarty, M., & Kozhevnikov, M. (1999). Types of visual–spatial representations and mathematical problem solving. Journal of educational psychology, 91(4), 684-689.

McCormick, N. J., Clark, L. M., & Raines, J. M. (2015). Engaging students in critical thinking and problem solving: A brief review of the literature. J. of Studies in Education, 5(4), 100-113.

Palm, T. (2006). Word problems as simulations of real-world situations: A proposed framework. For the learning of mathematics, 26(1), 42-47.

Palm, T. (2008). Impact of Authenticity on Sense Making in Word Problem Solving. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 67(1), 37-58.

Palm, T. (2009). Theory of authentic task situations. In B. Greer, L. Verschaffel, W. Van Dooren, & S. Mukhopadhyay (editors.), Word and worlds: Modelling verbal descriptions of situations. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Polya, G. (1973). How to solve it. A new aspect of mathematical method. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Reif, F., Larkin, J. H. & Brackett, G. C. (1976). Teaching general learning and problem‐solving skills. American Journal of Physics, 44(3), 212-217.

Rellensmann, J., Schukajlow, S., & Leopold, C. (2017). Make a drawing. Effects of strategic knowledge, drawing accuracy, and type of drawing on students’ mathematical modelling performance. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 95(1), 53-78.

Sliško, J. A. (2016). Improving teaching design of active physics learning by using potentially helpful knowledge from other science fields. Inovacije u nastavi-časopis za savremenu nastavu, 29(2), 1-14.

Slisko, J. (2014). The Eiffel Tower as a Context for Word Problems in textbooks for School Mathematics and Physics: Why Authors Have a Licentia Poetica and What Are Possible Consequences for Students’ learning and Beliefs? In Conference on Mathematics Textbook Research and Development (ICMT-2014) (p. 433).

Tobin, K. G., & Capie, W. (1981). The development and validation of a group test of logical thinking. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 41(2), 413-423.

Teodorescu, R. E., Bennhold, C., Feldman, G., & Medsker, L. (2013). New approach to analyzing physics problems: A Taxonomy of Introductory Physics Problems. Physical Review Special Topics-Physics Education Research, 9(1), 010103.

Torenbeek, E. & Wittenberg, H. (2009). Flight Physics: Essentials of Aeronautical Disciplines and Technology, with Historical Notes. New York: Springer.

Davies, A., Fidler, D. & Gorbis, M. (2011). Future Work Skills 2020. Palo Alto, CA: Institute for the Future.

Evans, J. S. B. (2003). In two minds: dual-process accounts of reasoning. Trends in cognitive sciences, 7(10), 454-459.

Fabby, C., & Koening, K. (2015). Examining the Relationship of Scientific Reasoning with Physics Problem Solving. J. of STEM Education: Innovation and Research, 16(4), 20-26.

Frederick, S. (2005). Cognitive reflection and decision making. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 19(4), 25–42.

Gok, T. (2015). An investigation of students’ performance after peer instruction with stepwise problem solving strategies. International Journal of Science & Mathematics Education, 13(3), 561-582.

Halliday, D., & Resnick, R. (1970). Fundamentals of Physics. 1st Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Halliday, D., Resnick, R., & Walker, J. (2005). Fundamentals of Physics. 7th Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Halliday, D., Resnick, R., & Walker, J. (2008). Fundamentals of Physics. 8th Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Halliday, D., Resnick, R., & Walker, J. (2009). Fundamentos de Física. Volumen 1, Octava edición. Ciudad de México: Grupo Editorial Patria.

Halliday, D., Resnick, R., & Walker, J. (2011). Fundamentals of Physics. 9th Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Halliday, D., Resnick, R., & Walker, J. (2014). Fundamentals of Physics. 10th Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Khine, M. (2013). Critical analysis of science textbooks. Dordrecht: Springer.

Hegarty, M., & Kozhevnikov, M. (1999). Types of visual–spatial representations and mathematical problem solving. Journal of educational psychology, 91(4), 684-689.

McCormick, N. J., Clark, L. M., & Raines, J. M. (2015). Engaging students in critical thinking and problem solving: A brief review of the literature. J. of Studies in Education, 5(4), 100-113.

Palm, T. (2006). Word problems as simulations of real-world situations: A proposed framework. For the learning of mathematics, 26(1), 42-47.

Palm, T. (2008). Impact of Authenticity on Sense Making in Word Problem Solving. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 67(1), 37-58.

Palm, T. (2009). Theory of authentic task situations. In B. Greer, L. Verschaffel, W. Van Dooren, & S. Mukhopadhyay (editors.), Word and worlds: Modelling verbal descriptions of situations. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Polya, G. (1973). How to solve it. A new aspect of mathematical method. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Reif, F., Larkin, J. H. & Brackett, G. C. (1976). Teaching general learning and problem‐solving skills. American Journal of Physics, 44(3), 212-217.

Rellensmann, J., Schukajlow, S., & Leopold, C. (2017). Make a drawing. Effects of strategic knowledge, drawing accuracy, and type of drawing on students’ mathematical modelling performance. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 95(1), 53-78.

Sliško, J. A. (2016). Improving teaching design of active physics learning by using potentially helpful knowledge from other science fields. Inovacije u nastavi-časopis za savremenu nastavu, 29(2), 1-14.

Slisko, J. (2014). The Eiffel Tower as a Context for Word Problems in textbooks for School Mathematics and Physics: Why Authors Have a Licentia Poetica and What Are Possible Consequences for Students’ learning and Beliefs? In Conference on Mathematics Textbook Research and Development (ICMT-2014) (p. 433).

Tobin, K. G., & Capie, W. (1981). The development and validation of a group test of logical thinking. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 41(2), 413-423.

Teodorescu, R. E., Bennhold, C., Feldman, G., & Medsker, L. (2013). New approach to analyzing physics problems: A Taxonomy of Introductory Physics Problems. Physical Review Special Topics-Physics Education Research, 9(1), 010103.

Torenbeek, E. & Wittenberg, H. (2009). Flight Physics: Essentials of Aeronautical Disciplines and Technology, with Historical Notes. New York: Springer.

Published

2017-12-27

How to Cite

SLISKO, Josip.
Questionable Authenticity of Some Problems in “Fundamentals of Physics” by Halliday, Resnick and Walker: An Initial Study of Students’ Critical Considerations.

**European Journal of Physics Education**, [S.l.], v. 8, n. 1, p. 31-44, dec. 2017. ISSN 1309-7202. Available at: <http://eu-journal.org/index.php/EJPE/article/view/153>. Date accessed: 23 feb. 2018.
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