September 12, 2016

Day 11 - PHYS 201 and PHYS 110; A favorite physics puzzle

Last Thursday was Day 11 in Physics 201. We have wrapped up discussing vectors, so the next topic is projectile motion. To start this topic, we got out the ballistic cart apparatus and had the class investigate: traveling on a horizontal track vs. on an inclined track AND dropping the ball vs. launching the ball from the cart.

This is one of my favorite physics puzzles to explore in introductory physics. I heard at least two groups talk about how their trial "didn't work right" because the cart caught the ball when it was going down the incline.  So, they made the angle larger and then tried again - and again were surprised when the cart caught the ball. Great investigation technique here by the students - now we have to work on the analysis.

In Physics 110 we finished up talking about the first five conceptual objectives - including talking about homework questions and practice assessment questions. In terms of new material - we defined longitudinal and transverse motion of coupled oscillating systems. In the previous class we had the air table out (no photos) but this day we used the PhET simulation to explore coupled oscillators:

Normal Modes

Click to Run

We also got out the snaky springs to discuss basic wave behavior.  Working as pairs, the class explored the following ideas:
  • A wave pulse, showing the transfer of energy.
  • Reflection of wave pulses
  • Transverse vs. longitudinal
  • Frequency
  • Wavelength
  • Speed
  • Wave speed depends on the media.
  • Interference.
  • Standing waves.
  • Generation of harmonics.

September 07, 2016

Day 10 - PHYS 201

Today in Physics 201 we finished discussing all the TIPERs related to vectors.  One of the questions involved considering the orientation of the coordinate system.  We had good class discussions about that question.

Also, I shared my version of the "Problem Solving Process" including this poster hanging in the front of the room:

I guess it is clear that I'm not a graphical designer. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

September 06, 2016

Day 9 - PHYS 201 and PHYS 110

What happened to Day 8?  I forgot and the Labor Day holiday happened, that's what. :/ (Last class was starting vectors, finishing the intro to coding, and doing the first assessment.)

Today in Physics 201 we started vectors in the 8:00 am section and got both sections going with the nTIPERs related to vectors.  I used the PhET simulation for vector addition to get the discussion going, then turned the class loose on the nTIPERs.

Here's one student's artwork with the sim:

I like it!

In the 10:00 am section we had a bit of time to discuss misconceptions from last weeks assessment.  I showed some photos of answers given by students on the assessment.  Surprisingly to me, the students self-identified their own work.  I hope the discussion was positive and productive.

In Physics 110 we looked at coupled oscillators, including getting out the air table for looking at pucks and springs coupled together.  We also finished the work with the IOlab devices and measuring the spring constant with them.  We finished up class by doing some end-of-chapter problems from the first two chapters. First assessment in this class will be next Tuesday.