In this activity, two problems which are similar but have an important difference are assigned to groups. In this case, both groups must find the force of friction between two blocks (one on top of the other) as well as the applied force. In one case, however, both blocks accelerate together, whereas in the second the upper block is tied to a wall behind them.
Each group works on their problem (at a whiteboard or SMART board). Before any group can finish, the instructor calls on the students to switch whiteboards or SMART boards with a group working on the other problem. Groups must identify the difference and determine how it will alter the way in which the problem must be approached. They then evaluate the other group’s work, correcting any errors, and complete the second problem.
Time permitting, the groups return to their original problem and determine whether or not they agree with the second group’s solution. After the problems have been completed, the instructor reviews the solutions, paying close attention to the differences between the two problems, to the errors which led to incorrect solutions, and to different approaches to each problem.
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