Textbook – Mechanics in Parallel


This is for Calculus-Based Physics as part of our comprehensive parallel pedagogy curriculum, which are open source, and free for you to use, download, and distribute as you find best supports your classes. You may also be interested to the Text for Algebra-Based Physics, or the Conceptual Textbook. This textbook by Pete Schwartz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
Creative Commons.pngThese chapters are provided as a supplement to the instruction or assigned videos and class work for the parallel pedagogy curriculum, as described in a May, 2017 The Physics Teacher publication. They are very short and simple with the intention that students will actually read them. Simple examples illustrate the concepts introduced, but the reader has access to many more examples and solutions via problem sets, exams and videos accessible from the class website of Spring 2017. I missed my deadline to “publish” it on OpenStax at the end of July, 2017. However, it is done now, and I will post it shortly on OpenStax shortly. Please contact me if you find mistakes, have ideas for improvements, or want to contribute.




Chapter 1

  • 1.0 introduction to lenses
  • 1.1 Momentum
  • 1.2 Energy
  • 1.3 Forces (dynamics and work)
  • 1.4 Kinematics (speed)
  • 1.5 Kinematics (acceleration)
  • 1.6 Energy: Kinetic, and Gravitational Potential
  • 1.7 Forces affect Momentum and Energy
  • 1.8 Lens, Motivation, Application
  • 1.9 Scaling: What changes as things get larger?


Chapter 2

  • 2.0 Work
  • 2.1 Power
  • 2.2 Units
  • 2.3 Graphical Analysis of Kinematics
  • 2.4 Vectors and Direction
  • 2.5 Dynamics Protocol and More Directions
  • 2.6 Springs: Force and Stored Energy
  • 2.7 Potential Energy Diagrams
  • 2.8 Update and Summary on Lens Method


Chapter 3

  • 3.0 Changing Reference Frames
  • 3.1 Elastic Collisions in 1D
  • 3.2 Friction


Chapter 4

  • 4.0 Intro to Rotation (4 lenses)
  • 4.1 Direction of Rotation
  • 4.2 Rotation and Tangential Motion
  • 4.3 Torque, Work, Power
  • 4.4 Moment of Inertia
  • 4.5 Moments of Inertia of Solid Bodies
  • 4.6 Intro to Statics
  • 4.7 Angular Momentum Conservation
  • 4.8 Update and Summary of Lens Method


Chapter 5

  • 5.0 Centripetal Acceleration
  • 5.1 Ubiquitous Inverse Square Law
  • 5.2 Universal Gravity
  • 5.3 Loop the Loop: circular motion in the vertical plane
  • 5.4 Astro Gravitational Potential Energy and Escape Speed


Chapter 6

  • 6.0 Intro to Linear System of Masses
  • 6.1 Rotational Systems
  • 6.2 Center of Mass
  • 6.3 Parallel Axis Theorem


Chapter 7

  • 7.0 Introduction to Components
  • 7.1 Components, Work, Torque, Statics, Momentum
  • 7.2 Inclined Plane
  • 7.3 Conical Pendulum
  • 7.4 Angular Momentum of a Point Mass
  • 7.5 Angular Momentum, Stability, Precession
  • 7.6 Trigonometry and two Derived Equations

Final Exam

Necessary changes:

intro to dynamic lens (121 only) should not mention momentum

4.5.4: fix diagram and state that the shaft has negligible mass

Formatting fix: 2.5.2, 5.0.4, section 5.3,

Remove W=F*dx and P=F*v because students use it for formula without realizing it’s an energy lens.  we can introduce it in week 10.

Remove generalized energy conservation formula because students use it instead of considering energy transition.

Make a new rotational big picture without the advanced topics they haven’t seen yet.  Or maybe edit the first one in PlayPosit?

For the idea sheet, students should not be allowed to have an example of a problem they think might be on the assessment/final.

For projectile motion, we should have a “because there is only acceleration in the y direction…” or something about independently working with x and y.

I always wait until the end to substitute in values… except for when I don’t… usually, this is energy calculations, where it’s nice to have the energy… like knowing how many apples.  For example #6 on final F2023.

For the project:
1) have them submit it in two parts: Kinematics and Power analysis
2) State up front that they have to draw things out by hand.  Excel doesn’t cut it.
3) Do an assessment on this material.