I have to agree with many of the above posters that the issue for physics in particular is the math. While motivation for any subject at any level is an issue for all educators, I think the importance of math and the difficulty of the level of math used in physics is a huge issue.

Many, many students struggle with math and in addition math anxiety is rampant among students. And while I would like to think that both genders are treated equally the reality is that girls are not encourage in math and science the way they should be.

Physics is an area where you must have a firm understanding of mathematical concepts. Many other content areas don't prove as difficult because they do not require as great an understanding not only of the subject you are teaching but the application of another subject.

I think that physics can be hard to learn if one does not find it useful. That said, another barrier may be that simple mathematical foundations may be missing--this can make physics difficult as well.

I think that kids find physics fascinating when you bring it to life. The key seems to be in demonstrations and labs. However, if you are referring to actually understanding the formulas, I think a strong background in math is the key. For some reason, many kids do not seem to think they should do math in any other class than math class. Skills don’t transfer, for some reason.

Some students struggle with the types of reasoning that physics entails. It is not simple mathematics, but also spatial reasoning and applying theories (sometimes counterintuitively) to observable phenomena. Many students just can't make that leap. I suspect, however, that the main reason students struggle with basic physics is that they don't see how it applies to their daily lives and are not willing to really study it.

Physics is a very "abstract" field from a student's point of view. It's not abstract to a scientist, but most students don't see the applications. Even in "soft" subjects like English, when you start talking about abstract concepts (symbolism, theme), students begin to struggle for awhile.

Of course, there's also the math aspect. For many students, the math alone makes it hard.

It's hard to get students to learn basic anything unless they are motivated to learn. Not all students will be motivated to learn any given subject. When it comes to something that can be somewhat complicated and mathematical (even at relatively basic levels) it becomes harder still to get students to learn.

Some students may feel that physics isn'important to them. They may not find it interesting or useful. Of course, one day they will discover that physics is everywhere. If you are having trouble keeping your students' attention, try relating physics to something they are interested in.

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