Students taking introductory physics courses often struggle with concepts that are difficult to visualize. This is especially true for electromagnetism because it involves 3dimensional geometry. Luckily, with software like Mathematica, educators can create 3D figures that students can manipulate and rotate on their own rather than viewing a 2D static representation of a 3D object. This project focuses on a single concept from electricity and magnetism called Gauss’s Law. This law, in rough terms, states that the “amount of electric field” that leaves a surface is equal to the amount of charge enclosed by that surface. Gauss’s Law demonstrates why engineers are typically required to take physics courses: it teaches students problem-solving skills and how to simplify a problem by recognizing symmetries. This project attempts to make Gauss’s Law easier to understand by giving students the option to rotate and interact with 3D figures.
Copyright © 2018 Liz Helfenberger
Helfenberger, Liz, "Seeing is Believing: Teaching Physics with Animations" (2018). Latham Science Communication Project. 35.