Spring 17 Mechanics Week 1

We will introduce ourselves and the learning model for this class. We will then introduce the general concepts of the class.
The Codes:
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

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 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 the Spring 2017 class. It’s free. You need to do this to get credit for homework. 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 the different way we will learn physics: How we are learning physics
3. Read the syllabus (link on main website), then watch the video explaining the syllabus.
4. Reading: Chapter 1.0 Introduction in the textbook, the link is on the main class webpage!
5. Please have a look at Problem Set #1, posted on main class website, due next week Monday. I may add to this problem set as late as Wednesday.

During Class
We will introduce ourselves
We will spend a short time discussing the videos. How is this learning format going to work for you?

After Class
Organize learning resources and prepare for class tomorrow, see below

Units: distance (meters), speed (meters/second), or speed is the time derivative of distance: v=dx/dt, Force (Newtons)
Before Class:
1. View “Four Concepts” video, 4 kinds of physics questions
2. 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. Do you know how you learn? Most people think they do, but their beliefs don’t match study’s results! Please see for yourself by taking this short quiz on NPR:
5. Help me determine office hours by filling out the doodle poll of when you’d like to have office hours. Office hours are a great place to work in groups and call me over when there is a challenge. Additionally, you can work in groups there even when I’m not having office hours!
6. Please look at PS#1 on main class website.
7. Read the following in the textbook: We are presently putting the textbook into final form, and will have the document here before the first day of class.

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

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 Tuesday 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?

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
2. View Dropping Rock I added this video late, so you will be able to watch it for tomorrow.
3. View Acceleration Video
4. Please read in the textbook (link on main class website):

  • Energy, please review the energy chapter: 1.2,
  • 1.5 Gravitational potential energy and Kinetic energy.
  • 1.6 Kinematics and acceleration

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 concepts and recognize that we are reluctant 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?


We will measure distance, speed, acceleration, momentum, force, energy, power.

There is an interplay between the concepts of motion, energy, and momentum. We are learning how these relationships are affected by time (rates of change or time derivatives), and forces – how does a force change energy or momentum (how is momentum and energy conserved?).

Before Class:

1.View Forces Effect on p, v, E
2. View Scaling
3. Please look at PS#1 on the main class website.
4. Read about in the text available on main class website:

  • 1.7 Forces, Momentum, Energy
  • 1.8 Scaling
  • 1.7a Applying Lenses of Mechanics

5. View Dropping Rock video if you didn’t watch it already.
6. I changed my Friday Office hours to 2:10.

During class:
Big Exam #1. In order to prepare for it, please consider this paragraph in the paper I wrote that will publish next month (the one that no one wanted to read):

…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. Subsequently, 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 as- signments 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