Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Gould, Howard W.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Physics




In making the choice of a subject for the qualifying paper in partial fullfllment of the requirements for the Mas­ter’s degree I wanted to choose one that would be of service to the teacher of high school physios. In the belief that there is too much teaching of "facts and figures* about phy­sios and not enough *und era tending”. I felt that an analytical study of the development of some basic concepts in physics would be of value. In making this study it did not take long to realize that the basic concepts of mass, energy, and charge are among those fundamental in nature, and that the struggle to understand these concepts began with early man. To understand one concept in physics today means that many others need to be understood. I felt it would be revealing to search some of the history of physios far the ways in which concepts cone to be developed. Therefore, the first section of the main text of this paper contains my analysis of the factors under­lying basic concepts of physics in our time as revealed by a historical survey of different periods in science. These factors are summarized on pages 19 and 20. It is Imperative that, in his attempt to develop understanding, the teacher take into consideration the use of psychological evidence applicable to learning. The aspects of this that are important in the use of the textbook are discussed in Section XX, "Factors Governing the Teaching of High School Physios." In addition, consideration has been given in this section to the development of attitudes and methods of science necessary to the advancement of the student. Finally, in Section XX, criteria are given for the analysis of the high school physics textbook. Section XXX contains critical analyses of the development of the concepts of mass, energy, and charge, in the latest editions of three different high school physics textbooks. The analysts are based on the factors and criteria that a m summarized in Sections X and XX. The organization of this section includes, for each concepts (1) a general discussion to serve as reference in addition to the criteria set up in the previous sections, (2) e critical analysis of the development of the concept, and (3) conclusions based on the discussion of each text.


Includes bibliographical references.


93 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type