Introductory Mechanics Fall 2017

Please see Last Spring’s Class  PHYS-141-11, MTWR 12:10 PM, 53-201

Pete Schwartz, Cal Poly Physics, Pete’s Webpage, directory of my other classes, my Research
Email:, 756-1220, My office is at 180-608, the new science building, room 608
Office hours: M (4:10), T(10:10), W(1:10), R(none), F(9:10 and 11:10)
My Resume, Teaching Statement, and the rest of my 2016 public application for promotion.

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 our unique way of learning physics here (for credit if you are a student), or here if you are not a student. I’ve been doing this for several years, you can see how my student evaluations initially went down and then back up again when I started to better market and explain why this method is good. In May of 2017, I published about our learning method in The Physics Teacher. You can see that A recent publication also 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 revisit concepts over a longer period of time.

I wrote a Textbook to follow our curriculum. It has about 1/10 the amount of text as a normal textbook. It’s short, so I expect students to read each section as we go through the material.

Group project: see the first project description, the Second Project Description, and the Second Project Website where you can post your project,

Problem Sets: PS#1, PS#1 Solutions, PS#2, PS#2_Solution_10, PS#2_Solution_4, PS#2_Solution_3, PS#3, PS#3_Solutions, PS#4, PS#4_Solutions, PS#5, PS#5_Solutions, PS#6, PS#6 solutions, and PS#7, PS#7_Solutions, Tricycle Problem, PS#8, PS#8 Solutions, PS#9, PS#9_Solutions, PS#10, PS#10 Solutions, PS#11, PS#11 Solutions

Exams: Big Exam 1 solutions, BE#2 Solutions, BE#3 (see problem #5 on PS#4), MT#1, MT#1_With_Comments, MT#1_Solutions from several students, several pages from each problem. Big Exam #5 Solutions, MT#2, MT#2_with_comments, MT#2_Solutions, BE#6_Solutions

Response to Friday Feedback: After 2 weeks, end of week 9, End of Quarter Evals

To see the week’s assignments, please click on the number of the week at left on the table below. Cal Poly’s Calendar

Week Topics
Wk 1
Only 1 Day:
Our Learning Model and Introductions
Wk 2
4 lenses and
One-dimensional motion
Wk 3
Project on Tuesday!
Wk 4
Wk 5
Pete is in Denver at Solar Conference
Midterm #1 on Monday,
Tuesday, Switch Working Groups
Wk 6
Wk 7
Wk 8
MT #2 on Tuesday!
Wk 9
2nd project proposal due Tuesday!
Wk 10
2nd project due Midnight, Saturday, Nov. 18
no school Thanksgiving
Wk 11
Exam week Cal Poly exam Schedules
Tuesday, December 5, 1:10 PM – 4:00 PM
The final exam will be in 180-262.

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