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Traditional quantitative problems of the type commonly found at the end of chapters in physics textbooks are assigned to students in most introductory physics courses. Many students use a formula-driven approach to solve these problems that does not rely on understanding underlying physics concepts and that does little to encourage the problem-solving skills employed by experts. In this paper, we illustrate the use of “bridging exercises” as part of students’ homework in the context of electrostatics. These exercises encourage students to solve problems by starting with developed physics concepts and models.
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