I invested a lot more time having students work with superposition of magnetic fields this year before any calculations were involved. I am hoping this makes the transition to problem-solving easier.
Students had to map fields around bar magnets using compasses, and then also learn how to use the Vernier magnetic field sensor. Then they had to practice predicting and observing superposition for a variety of cases — for cases where strength only changed they used sensor, in cases where they direction changed, they used compasses.
Then they mapped field around current carrying wire, and practiced superposition with a card sorting task.
Students first sorted cards by whether the direction was Up, Down, or Zero. Then they reranked the cards by magnitude (strongest to weakest).
Next time I’d like to have wire sets up where they can also make and test predictions.