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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Net Force

by John Brecht
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: May 06, 2001 by Mathematics
Overview: In this applet, the user is able to move three vectors, independently, in various positions in the plane. The length and direction of each vector is to represent the direction and magnitude of a force. These three vectors are added and the resulting net force is shown as a vector (in another color).
Learning Goals: To demonstrate graphically vector addition as well as various properties of addition of forces (vectors).
Target Student Population: Calculus students, or others just learning about vector addition (College). Could be used as supplemental material for Linear Algebra students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic Calculus.
Type of Material: Simulation/Animation
Technical Requirements: This applet should run on any Java-enabled browser.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Very simple and clear graphical display of vector addition. Students can move three vectors, independently, in various position in the plane. The length and direction of each vector is to represent the direction and magnitude of a force. These three vectors are added and the resulting net force is shown as a vector (in another color). Numerical values for the x and y components of each of the three forces and the net force produced by these three independent vectors are shown.
Concerns: Because of the windows showing the numerical values of the components of the vectors, it is quite easy to move the vectors to positions at which they are hidden.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: In addition to a graphical demonstration of vector addition, the applet could be used to demonstrate various properties of the addition of vectors (or of forces). If, or example, F1 and F2 are any forces, then there is a unique force which balances it. It would not be hard to demonstrate the fact that any two linearly independent forces generate all forces in the plane. While these facts are trivial mathematically, a visual demonstration may be very helpful to a beginning student.Applet relieves the user of computations while doing vector addition.
Concerns: As a part of self-directed activity, NetForce applet can be used as a calculator for solving vector addition problems.
As a support tool, instructors can use it to illustrate textbook examples and homework assignments. Students could benefit from visiting the site and spending 20-30 minutes there.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This is a very straightforward applet to use. The ability to see numerical information is a great benefit.
Concerns: This tool could use slightly more extended instructions. Some theoretical material explanation would be a plus.