Coming This Fall ...

We have some exciting news! Beginning in the Fall of 2022, we will release a new version of our Calculator Pad. The new version will include all the current problems and many more. But the problems will include randomly-generated numbers and an answer input field for students to input their answers and check its accuracy. The problems will be search-able, allowing visitors to search for problems by topic, keyword, and difficulty level. And perhaps best of all, the new version of the Calculator Pad will be Task Tracker compatible. Teachers with Task Tracker accounts can assign problem sets to their students, set scoring rules and due dates, and access records of student progress. We will have many ready-to-use problem sets that you can use as is or modify to you own liking. Don't like our pre-made problem sets? That won't be a big deal with Task Tracker; you will be able to create your own problem sets from the problems we provide. Have a problem that is special to you that we don't have? That's no big deal either; soon after release of the update in August, we will start work on making our Problem Builder available for teachers to create their own problems for inclusion in a problem set.

We're excited about the change and hope you are too.

The Calculator Pad

The Calculator Pad represents the effort of The Physics Classroom website to provide students with practice solving physics word problems. Approximately 30 problems of varying degree of difficulty are provided for each topic. Answers can be easily viewed by clicking a button. And an audio file (mp3 format) is provided which explains the solution to the problem in great detail. With problems, answers and solutions, physics students can learn to practice good habits of solving physics word problems and improve their understanding of quantitative relationships in physics. Students who are using this resource for the first time should take the time to read the Note to Students. Physics teachers who are interested in this resource should take the time to read the Note to Teachers.



Click a link to fast-forward to an Overview page for a problem set on a specific topic:

1-D Kinematics | Newton's Laws | Vectors and Projectiles | Vectors and Forces in Two Dimensions | Momentum and Collisions | Work and Energy | Circular Motion and Gravitation

Static Electricity | Electric Circuits

Waves, Sound, and Light:
Wave Basics | Sound Waves and Music | Light Waves | Reflection and Mirrors | Refraction and Lenses


About Our Approach:

Physics could be described as an active sport. Like most subjects in math and science, you can't learn it by being passive. Physics demands participation ... and practice. Like any sport, to be good in physics you must practice.

Physics can also be described as a quantitative science. Concepts like speed, acceleration, force, momentum and energy can be described in words; but they can also be described by mathematical formulas. Many concepts in physics are mathematical quantities which can be measured, calculated and quantitatively related to other measurable quantities. While physics is considerably more than mathematics, it is most certainly understood more fully when the mathematics associated with the concepts is explored and understood.

In most physics courses, the convergence of concepts and mathematics is practiced in the form of solving physics word problems. These problems describe a physical situation, providing some numerical information which describes the situation, and ask the student to determine some unknown quantity. The assumption of such exercises is that students will be forced to draw upon their conceptual knowledge of physics principles and to reflect upon their understanding of the mathematical relationships between quantities in order to solve for the unknown quantity.


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