Why is it so hard to get students to learn even simple physics?Why is it so hard to get students to learn even simple physics o_O !!

Asked on by loraaa

12 Answers | Add Yours

catd1115's profile pic

catd1115 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted on

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.

literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

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.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

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.

rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

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.

shake99's profile pic

shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

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.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

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.

wannam's profile pic

wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

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. 

thewanderlust878's profile pic

thewanderlust878 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 3) Salutatorian

Posted on

Physics was definitely a subject that makes me have to think quite hard. I've always been more of a biology person, so I don't like to try my hand at the science that can be broken :) I think that for students who have no interest in physics or science at all must have an especially difficult time.

Sometimes even "simple" physics can be confusing. And for students who have difficulty learning it, it can seem like a challenge that can never be properly completed.  

Hope this helps!

frizzyperm's profile pic

frizzyperm | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Because it is difficult. Physics is the most difficult subject on the school timetable. It is abstract, counter-intuitive (the big rock doesn't fall faster than the small rock) and highly theoretical.

astrosonuthird's profile pic

astrosonuthird | Student, Kindergarten | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

Physics is the easiest subject and my favorite. Who said it is tough. It is as easy as your name.


Don't think physics is tough.

We’ve answered 320,034 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question