121 Spring 2018 Week 1


Back to Main Class Website
Green is the color or your Goal: What should you know by the end of this day?
Video Links are in Blue, but turn to purple after you see them.
Red is important

Tuesday, First Hour (Second Hour Preparation is below)
Know how the class is run differently from traditional classes and the resources students have available.
Know how your final grade will be determined.
Visit my office sometime this week or next week and say “HI” and consider how nice the 6th floor of Baker Science is to gather in groups.

Before Class:
1. Please get connected with PlayPosit by watching the videos below. When you hit the link, the video will ask you for your Email and a password and have you enroll in the website for 121 Spring 2018. It’s free. You need to do this to get credit for homework, which can greatly affect your grade. Please record your password somewhere when you do this. It is not easy to get a new one if you forget your password.
2. Watch the video about our unique way of learning physics: How we are learning physics
3. View “Four Concepts” video, 4 kinds of physics questions
4. Read the syllabus (link on main website), know how you are graded. Then, watch this video about the syllabus.
5. Reading: Chapter 0.0, and section 1.0 (introduction) in the textbook (link on main class website).
6. Do you know how you learn? Most people think they do, but this study’s results might surprise them! Please see for yourself by taking this short quiz on NPR.
7. Please have a look at Home Work #1 (HW), posted on main class website, due next week Tuesday (week 2).
8. Help me determine office hours by filling out the Doodle Poll of when you think you will want to come to my office.

During First hour of class
We will introduce ourselves. Be prepared to provide your name, major, something you’re passionate about, and something about you and physics.
We will spend a short time discussing the videos. How is this learning format going to work for you?
What day do you want homework due?

Your responsibility in this class is to develop working relationships with other students. Class time is a social environment, and we will work together solving problems, debating concepts, studying for exams and doing projects. Because I won’t always be there in front of you, you will need to work with your peers, and you will also need to take the initiative to say, “Pete, we have a question.” Lastly, you don’t need to wait until office hours to get together for study or group, and the working area outside my office is always there.

Check next hour below

Tuesday, Second Hour
Units: distance (meters), speed (meters/second), or speed is the time derivative of distance: v = dx/dt, Force (Newtons)

Before Class:
1. View Position and Velocity
3. Watch Veritassium video, Say the Wrong Thing Read more about confusion if you like at NPR: Confusion is How it Feels to Learn
4. Read the paper I published about our learning method in The Physics Teacher. Consider how this is going to work for you, or how you will make it work for you.
5. Read the following in the textbook (link on main class website)

  • 1.1 Momentum
  • 1.2 Energy
  • 1.3 Dynamics
  • 1.4 Kinematics

6. Do HW#1 for the sections that you have covered.

During class:
We look at a collision on an (almost) frictionless surface. Momentum and energy are conserved in a closed system. However, can momentum or energy change forms?

After Class:
Consider the cart collision today in class:
1) Is momentum conserved? How do you know?… Or don’t you know?
2) Is energy conserved? How do you know?… Or don’t you know?
3) Are there forces and accelerations? Please describe directions and sizes!
4) What about motion? Can you make a speed vs time graph for each cart? Can you make a position vs time graph for each cart?

Thursday, First Hour
We are learning to be conscious of the lens (concept) we are looking through or if we are not using a lens. We are practicing using the four different lenses.

Before Class:
1. View Energy Flows – this video abruptly ends after 1 min, 9 seconds. After this, please move onto the next video.
2. View Dropping Rock
3. Please read in the textbook (link on main class website):

  • Energy, please review the energy chapter: 1.2,
  • 1.5 Acceleration
  • 1.6 Potential and Kinetic Energy

4. Because many in the class express interests related to environmental stewardship and sustainability, I offer the following two opportunities:
– I am the facilitator for projects up at the Student Experimental Farm, just past the rodeo. If you want to garden, have an outdoor project/experiment, or spend time working with aquaponics or mycology (growing mushrooms) clubs, please come visit us Sundays at 11 AM.
– I teach Appropriate Technologies – innovating and building in collaboration with the global poor. It’s an Area F GE. It’s way fun. And it’s opposite our class: MW 4-5:30.

In Class:
We will look at things falling and compare times to fall and speed at the end. The goal is to practice using the 4 different concept lenses and recognize our reluctance to use them. Instead of invoking the new tools we are introduced to, we often revert to methods of reasoning that we have used before! The goal is to increase our awareness that we do that!… and start developing new tools. Can we examine our inherent familiarity with how physics works in nature; Can we close our eyes and “see” what will happen?

Thursday, Second Hour

Before Class:

  1. View Acceleration Video
  2. See this video of kids playing with rockets. It should help prepare you for how we’re going to do our project.
  3. Read in the text available on main class website: 1.9 scaling
  4. View Scaling
  5. Elon Musk just uses simple scaling to create disruptive technologies: Quartz Media Story

During class:

Big Exam #1. In order to prepare for it, please consider this paragraph in the paper I wrote about our learning model:
…students in this class did not start questions with lens identification until after the grading policy was invoked. Even with full knowledge of the rubric and practice in class, the vast majority of the students (and two instructors sitting in on the class) did not identify a lens on the first quiz and thus received a grade of D. After this exam, most students consistently began answering each question identifying the relevant concepts. It is possible that the change in grading alone would have resulted in students beginning each question with concept identification. Accordingly, a recent publication reports increased student learning with ungraded, timely feed- back and other Formative Assessment techniques.1

  1. J. Haugan, M. Lysebo, P. Lauvas, “Mandatory coursework assignments can be, and should be eliminated!” Eur. J. of Engin. Educ., 1–14, March 21, 2017; published online at http://dx.doi. org/10.1080/03043797.2017.1301383


Videos I find helpful

Veritasium’s Cool Science Home