Interactive Web-based Problem Solving Tutorials for Introductory Physics

Not only can learning physics help you understand how things work, it provides an excellent platform for developing problem solving and reasoning skills. The effective way of solving a problem includes an initial qualitative analysis of the problem followed by planning, implementation, assessment, and reflection upon the problem solving process to extend and organize knowledge. Please watch the video labeled ``Introduction" to get an idea of why these stages of problem solving are so important for learning to reason and solve problems.


Before working through an interactive tutorial which breaks down a quantitative problem into subproblems (multiple-choice problems) related to various stages of problem solving, print out the problem worksheet and try solving the problem yourself. While working on the multiple-choice subproblems in the tutorials, click on a choice that you think is correct. You should not move forward in the tutorial and input your solution unless you have answered all of the preceeding subproblems correctly. Even if you solve a subproblem correctly, you may want to view the feedback to ensure you understand why other options for a multiple-choice question (related to a particular stage of problem solving) are incorrect. Also consider availing of the additional feedback that demonstrates and exemplifies a particular stage of problem solving in detail (e.g., how to do initial qualitative analysis, implementation, reflection). You can stop and rewind the tutorial anytime. After working on the tutorial, you must work on the pair problems to ensure that you have the ability to apply the concepts learned from the tutorial to a somewhat different context. We have developed computer-based tutorials related to introductory mechanics, electricity, and magnetism. Topics in mechanics include linear and rotational kinematics, Newton's laws, work and energy, and momentum. Topics in electricity and magnetism include Coulomb's law, Gauss's law, potential and potential energy, motion of charged particles in a constant electric field, motion of charged particles in an external magnetic field, Faraday's law, and Lenz's law. If you are interested in testing these tutorials, please send an email to Chandralekha Singh at Below we have an example of an interactive tutorial for introductory mechanics. Have fun!