Sunday, April 3, 2011
One Situation: Multiple Force Models
I like this picture. And one reason I like it is because it reminds me that there is no correct way to a model a situation using a free-body diagram. Here are four free-body diagrams.
While the models becomes more sophisticated; I don't think any of these models is correct or incorrect. Depending on its purpose, sometimes the simplest model is the best one. All of this makes me wonder what dis-service we do to students when we over-emphasize the correctness of a free-body diagram and under-emphasize the fact that we are building and refining models. As we come to notice and become concerned about more nuanced features of a situation, we may (or may not) choose to attend to those features.