Let’s Get Your Foundation Right

Remember the movie, Three Idiots? What is that famous Question that the Machine Class Professor asks in Class? What is a Machine

Rancho’s simplistic answer “Anything that simplifies work is a Machine” does not satisfy the Professor. Do you recall the elaborate answer – the actual textbook definition given by Silencer? satisfies the Professor and he says “Kya Baat Hai”

Writing definitions crisply has its place in learning. Let’s not completely discount it. But the problem starts when your conceptual understanding takes a back seat due to the overemphasis on this. As a Teacher for more than 20 Years, interacting with some of the Best of the Best Students in several cities across India, I have seen this malady reflect itself in so many ways. Students are able to give the best possible definitions to Questions that would fetch them full marks in School Test Papers that require theoretical detailing. But when it comes to quickly applying the relevant concepts in a problem-solving scenario – whether it’s breaking down a complex concept into simpler manageable portions or getting to the crux of a numerical problem, students have great difficulty in identifying and calling to the forefront the required inputs. Repetitive Application is the Key to On-Call Implementation.

To quote a simple example – When I ask this string of questions – all related to the same fundamental principle, I find many students losing their way when they hit the second or third question. Absolute Conceptual Clarity of the Foundational Block of PHYSICS is required to crack these with supreme confidence – time after time.

  • What is the Force Exerted by a 10Kg Block on the Surface of the Moon?
  • The ratio of which parameter would give you the value of 1:1 in the context that we are discussing here?
  • What is the ratio of the Normal Reaction of the above-mentioned 10Kg Block on the Moon and on Earth?

These questions are all related to 9th Grade Physics. As a Physics Teacher, I regularly see 12th Class Students who score very well in School Tests struggle with these questions. It’s not that these questions require a much deeper knowledge of Physics Principles. It requires a CLEAR UNDERSTANDING of FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS. And only if your Fundamental Concepts are clear, you can, in the words of one of my own students – a First Rank Holder in Medical Entrance Examination – “build it Block by Block for higher lever problems”

So, get your Foundation Right, get your basics super-strong. Only then whatever you build on them can stand the test of higher-level problems.

Ajay Antony
Founder & Teacher,
The Physics Chamber

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