The four steps you can use to solve any physics problem.
The four steps you can use to solve any
estimates and predictions.
As best you can, estimate what your results will be
predict what the physical behavior of a system will be.
Given the concepts you have identified, the
known quantities, and the target variables, choose the equations
that you’ll use to solve the problem
decide how you’ll use
Make sure that the variables you have identified correlate
exactly with those in the equations
If appropriate, draw a sketch
of the situation described in the problem.
stated in the problem
implied in the problem
the relevant concepts:
Use the physical conditions stated
in the problem to help you decide which physics concepts are relevant.
the target variables of the problem
quantities whose values you’re trying to find
a numerical answer.
execute the solution: This is where you “do the math.”
Caution Always use units in calculations
Make it a habit to always write
numbers with the correct units
evaluate your answer
Compare your answer with your estimates,
reconsider things if there’s a discrepancy.
For future reference, make note of
any answer that represents a quantity of particular significance.
Ask yourself how you might answer a more general or more difficult
version of the problem you have just solved
acronym I SEE—short for Identify, Set up,
Execute, and Evaluate.
matter what kind of problem you’re dealing with, there are certain key
steps that you’ll always follow.
These same steps are equally useful for problems in
many other fields.