Introductory Mechanics Fall 2015

MTWR, in Building 53-201, 10 AM. This is the “Science North Building”
Pete Schwartz, Cal Poly Physics, Pete’s Webpage:, 756-1220, 180-608
Office hours: M(1:10), T(3:10), W(12:10), Th(9:10), F(10:10)

The Syllabus explains the class policies including how your final grade is determined.

Teaching “flipped”, “parallel”, with an open-online text. Please see video explaining How we are learning physics if you are not a student in the class, or if you don’t need to get credit for seeing the video, you can see the youtube version of How we are learning physics. A recent publication lends support to several aspects of our learning method: Active learning better engages the brain; asking questions (like in our videos) is an effective way to learn; learning concepts in parallel allows us to space out and revisit the concepts over a longer period of time.

While I assign videos via, you can access my youtube videos directly from my youtube website, or just google the titles. However, in order to receive credit for watching them, you must watch them via Educanon.

Group project: see the Student Project Website where you can post your project, and the Project Description so you know how to do your project.

Problem Sets: PS#1, PS#1_answers, PS#2, PS#2_answers, PS#3, PS#3_answers, PS#4, PS#4_Solutions(Word), PS#4 Solutions(PDF), PS#5, PS#5_Solutions, PS#6, PS#6_Solutions, PS#7, PS#7_Solutions, PS#8, PS#8_Solutions, PS#9, PS#9_Solutions, PS#10, PS#10_Solutions, PS#11, PS#11_Solutions

Exams: BE1_Solutions, BE2_Solutions, BE3 is in PS#4, MT1, MT1_answers, MT1_Solutions, BE#4, BE4_Solutions, MT#2, MT#2 with answers, MT#2 Solutions, BE#5 is on PS#8 and #9. BE#6 Reflections

More Practice:
Want more practice problems? Try: F11 total quizzes with answers, or access any exams or problem sets from past classes
Try some problems in your textbook. Try some notes and questions from Professor Ron Brown: Introduction, 1. Forces, 2. Kinematics, 3. Newton’s Laws, 4. Work and Energy, 5. Momentum, 6. Rotational Motion,

Response to Thursday Feedback: I will ask you for your thoughts on Thursdays, and provide a summary and my response here. Week 2 Week 4 Week 8 Week 9

See all the problem sets and exams from last quarter for a Previous Class

Week page Topic Learning Objectives

4 day

Introduction to learning model
4 kinds of questions
Time rate of change
Role of force in “4 Lenses.”
1. Our Learning Model
2. Intro to 4-Concepts: qualitative approach to looking at phenomena
3. Units and formulas – learning to be careful with units
4. Rate of change. speed, acceleration, power

4 day

1. Track Field Trip/ Project 1
2. Analyze outing
3. Equal and Opposite Force.
4. Free Body Diagram
Acceleration, velocity, etc. Beginning to put formulas on the concepts.
1. Solve different problems like distance, velocity, acceleration using all 4 concepts and test them out.
2. How would you go about measuring acceleration? force? power?
3. What is your power, force?
4. How do we distinguish displacement, velocity, and acceleration from the scalar analogues?
5. Introduce 2-D FBD
4 day
1. Springs
2. Energy Diagram
3. Friction
4. Changing Reference Frames
5. Elastic Collision
What affect does friction have on:
1. energy problems? (e.g. energy lost to heat)
2. force problems? (e.g. relation between normal force and frictional force)
3. conservation of momentum problems?
a. energy problems (e.g. pendulum swinging has max potential energy when it is at its maximum in the y-direction, max kinetic energy when at minimum y-direction)
c. momentum problems?
a. energy problems (e.g. pendulum swinging has max potential energy when it is at its maximum in the y-direction, max kinetic energy when at minimum y-direction)

4 day

1. Examples and big picture.
2. Midterm 1 on Day 3
3.Two Dimensions and the 4 lenses
4.Two Dimensions Free Body Diagram
5. Visually Quantifying Vector Components
Using vectors.

1. Introduce 2-D FBD’s
2.5 Force problems? (pulling a sleigh with an angled rope)
2. what affect do vectors have on:
a. energy problems (e.g. pendulum swinging has max potential energy when it is at its maximum in the y-direction, max kinetic energy when at minimum y-direction)
b. Force problems? (pulling a sleigh with an angled rope)
c. 2-D momentum problems?
3. What are vectors’ relation to friction?


4 day

1. Inclined Plane
2. Statics
3. Universal Gravity, Inverse Square
1. Understand the scaling of gravity with distance (the “ubiquitous inverse square law”)
4 day
1. Satellite, Escape Speed
2. Centripetal Acceleration and its dynamics
3. Trigonometry and all it entails
1. Introduce trigonometry and the displacement formulas
2. Use energy conservation with universal gravitational potential energy
3. The two remaining kinematics equations: identify when you can and can’t use them.

4 day

Systems – pulleys, etc.
Review problems
MT2 Thurs.
Systems: Ask students how they can make complicated problems easier to manage. Then introduce techniques on how to solve these concepts as systems.
How does changing Reference Frames help us solve problems?

3 day

Circular Motion 4 kinds
rotational questions
Statics, Moment of Inertia,
After students have mastered both the quantitative and qualitative components of the 4-concepts. Reintroduce these concepts to them in the lens of circular motion. Place importance on the fact that they already know these concepts, this is just another situation.
Distinguish angular acceleration from centripetal acceleration

4 day

Torque and Angular momentum, precession The rotational analogue for F=ma is Torque = I*alpha, but it isn’t always true. It’s much more correct to think of Torque as the time rate of change of angular momentum. This conception also allows us to understand precession. Student projects links are due by Friday.
2 day
Rotational Systems When a wheel accelerates in a system the important equation is that omega = v/r
4 day
Student Projects
Review for final exam: Provide students with lots of practice problems and work through them in class.
Exam week Do it!

Monday, December 7, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM, in the same classroom.

An asterisk indicates that the link is to a page from a past class and hasn’t been updated yet.

As I try to improve the class, I am keeping Notes to Self