April 07, 2014

Drafting standards for algebra-based intro physics at a two-year college

Last weekend I was at the Illinois Section AAPT meeting, where I gave a presentation of my foray into Standards-Based Grading. My main points in the presentation were that I have observed:

a.) Most of the people who try SBG the first time write too many standards initially

b.) It's really hard to find a list of standards used in college physics classes online

I've been drafting a set of standards that I would feel comfortable using for a first semester physics class. To address the first point from above, I've whittled it down to 18 standards, although several have multiple parts to them.

I believe that I can assess these standards in chunks of less than 18 assessments. I am aiming for 13-14 nominal assessments with the opportunity for re-assessments on any of them.

I am also working on as-of-yet-unwritten lab standard or standards, which I will likely need help with.

To address the second point from my talk, I'm putting the draft up here for review from the community. I would love to see a discussion of physics faculty from all levels getting involved on building a set of standards that work well. (Not that I want the standards to be, uh....standardized on any level beyond a classroom....)

Here is my draft standards for first semester intro physics, algebra-based. We move oscillations and sound to the second semester, in case you're wondering where they appear. Thank you (in advance) for any thoughts you have on them.

Physics 101 Standards (Draft Spring 2014)

1.) I can interpret and construct graphs of objects in 1-D motion

2.) I can apply a logical problem-solving process to model the motion of objects moving in 1-D.

3.) I can resolve vectors into their components.

4.) I can add and subtract vectors graphically as well as by components.

5.) I can recognize situations described by projectile motion and apply an accurate model of the 2-D motion to determine unknown quantities.

6.) I can apply Newton’s laws of motion for objects in equilibrium as well as objects in motion including:

a.) single objects
b.) connected objects
c.) objects in contact with a spring
d.) objects in circular motion

7.) I can recognize situations where the Work-Kinetic Energy theorem applies, and be able to solve problems using the theorem.

8.) I can recognize situations where the conservation of energy principle is appropriate and be able to apply the principles to those situations including:

a.) objects under the influence of a gravitational field
b.) objects in contact with a stretched or compressed spring

9.) I can identify situations where impulse is used and correctly apply the momentum-impulse theorem.

10.) I can identify situations where conservation of linear momentum is appropriate and correctly apply the conservation principle to those situations including:

a.) elastic collisions
b.) inelastic collisions

11.) I can evaluate (graphically and analytically) the quantities of rotating objects in terms of the linear kinematic equivalents including:

a.) angle
b.) angular velocity
c.) angular acceleration
d.) moment of inertia

12.) I can apply the conservation of energy principle to rotating objects.

13.) I can apply Newton's second law for rotational motion for

a.) objects rotating
b.) objects in static equilibrium

14.) I can identify situations where materials are subject to thermal expansion and be able to calculate the change in their length, area or volume.

15.) I can determine the equilibrium temperature when materials of different initial temperatures are brought into thermal contact with each other.

16.) I can differentiate between conduction, convection and radiation mechanisms.

17.) I can apply the ideal gas law and the results of the kinetic theory of gases to calculate properties of gases.

18.) I can determine the energy transferred by heating required to change the temperature of material and cause materials to change phases.

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