Introductory Mechanics Winter 2018


Please see last Fall’s class.PHYS-141-10, MTWR 6:10 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: Mon. and Tues. 2:10 PM; Wed. and Thurs. 3:10 PM, Fri 11:10 AM

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. My students have 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 Solutions, PS#3 (Due Monday of Week 4), PS#3 solutions, PS#4, PS#4 Solutions, PS#5, PS#5 solutions, PS#_6, PS#6 solutions, PS#7, PS#7_Solutions, More Solutions for PS#7, PS#8, PS#8 Solutions, PS#9, PS#9 Solutions, PS#10, PS#10 solutions

Exams: Big Exam #1 Solutions, MT#1, MT#1 with comments, MT#1_solutions, MT2_Comments, MT2 Solutions, BE#6_Solutions

Response to Feedback: End week 2, Week 8, Final student evaluations, End of Year Survey Monkey Feedback

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

Week Topics
Wk 1
Our Learning Model and Introductions
4 lenses and
One-dimensional motion
Wk 2
No classes Monday
Project on Thursday!
Wk 3
Vectors, Springs, Reference Frames
Wk 4
Midterm #1 on Wednesday,
Thursday: switch working groups
Begin Rotational Motion
Wk 5
Moment of Inertia, Central Forces, Centripetal Acceleration
Wk 6
Wk 7
No Classes Monday
MT #2 on Wednesday!
Wk 8
Wk 9
Angular Momentum
Wk 10
Practicing Examples
Exam week Cal Poly exam Schedules
Tuesday, March 20, 7-10 PM

Cal Poly’s Calendar
As I try to improve the class, I am keeping Notes to Self