Analysis of the behavior of charged particles in electrical and magnetic fields by prospective physics teachers


EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICS, vol.39, no.6, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 39 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1088/1361-6404/aaddd4
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


This study investigates how prospective teachers analyzed the behavior of charged particles in electrical and magnetic fields. A test consisting of eight questions each related to five sub-concepts and involving the analysis of the path followed by a charged particle moving into a uniform electrical or magnetic field was prepared. Three different categories of assessment were applied to the data obtained from the test: detailed, Combined, and Associated. The study was carried out with 80 prospective physics teachers. It was found in the study that difficulties begin with insufficient understanding relating to the nature of vector quantities and the structure of the Lorentz force. Some prospective teachers overlooked the relationship between the direction of the force and the type of the charge in the electrical field. Thus, there were significant errors related to the direction of the force. Further, prospective teachers failed to determine that magnetic force would cause the charged particle to follow a circular path in the magnetic field. Difficulties experienced by the prospective teachers in relation to force were reflected in acceleration and velocity, as well. The rest of the difficulties were related to Newton's second law. The prospective teachers either did not understand Newton's second law or could not apply it in other areas of physics. Difficulties relating to mechanics were observed to continue in electricity and magnetism as well. One of the surprising findings of the study was that the prospective teachers had significantly more success in questions relating to the concept of work. According to the combined results, the prospective teachers were found to follow the conceptual order force, acceleration, velocity, and path when answering questions.