Week 1 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?
Purple is the Reading from the Open Stax College Physics Textbook
Video Links are in Blue, but turn to purple after you see them.
Red is important, read it!
Yellow is a note to myself, ignore it

Day 1: Monday’s Class
Know how the class is run differently from traditional classes and the resources students have available.

Before Monday’s Class:
1. Get connected to Educanon. An Educanon walk thru document can be found here, as well as a video tutorial here.
2. Visit this webpage before class on the first day,
3. Watch the video about the different way we will learn physics: What are we doing?
4. Watch Veritassium video, Say the Wrong Thing
5. Go to Open Stax College Physics Textbook and decide which format will work for you.

During Class:
You will fill out an interest survey and introduce yourself to the class and state your interests.
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.

Day 2: Tuesday
Units: distance (meters), speed (meters/second), or speed is the time derivative of distance: v=dx/dt, Force (Newtons)
VECTORS – we won’t distinguish vectors from scalars this week, so you’ll hear me use the terms “speed” and “velocity” interchangeably. Please just let it go until week 3.

Before Tuesday’s Class:
1. View “Four Concepts” video, 4 kinds of physics questions
2. View Displacement and Velocity
3. Read the introduction to kinematics, dynamics, energy, and momentum:

  • Kinematics: Chapter 2 Introduction and 2.1, 2.3
  • Dynamics: 4.1
  • Energy: Chapter 7 introduction, 7.6
  • Momentum: Chapter 8 introduction, 8.3 (up to figure the first figure, Fig. 8.6)

During class:
We will analyze the 4 scenarios outlined in the video with respect to the other concepts. That is, in the energy conservation scenario (the sling shot), can you describe the dynamics (forces), kinematics (acceleration and speed) and momentum? We will work a problem with good unit analysis together.

After Class:
Distribute problem sets due next Monday and prepare for class tomorrow, see below.

Day 3:
Units: acceleration (meters/second/second), or acceleration is the time derivative of speed: a=dv/dt, or acceleration is the second time derivative of distance. mass (kg), Energy (Joules), momentum (kg m/s), Energy can be converted. Heat is a form of energy.
Skill: Draw Energy Flow Diagrams.
Hey, here is problem set #1, due Monday in class (with optional .pdf) for you non-microsoft users. We will work on these problems for the rest of the week! Also attached is the “how to use Tracker” guide, and the grasshopper videoPS1_141_F14.doc

PHYS 141 Tracker Video Instructions (5) (1).docxPS1_141_F14 for pdf printing.pdf

Before Class:
1. View Energy Flows
2. View Acceleration Video
3. View Scaling
4. Read the introduction to kinematics, dynamics, energy, and momentum:

  • Kinematics: 2.4
  • Forces, 4.3
  • Units 1.2

a very important energy form is heat, molecular kinetic energy: molecules are moving, vibrating, rotating

During class:
We will draw energy transition diagrams for scenarios we pick. Can we extend these scenarios all the way from the most primary energy (the sun, earth’s rotational energy, or nuclear) as well as all the way to the final energy (infrared radiation into space)?

After Class: pick an energy flow that is important in your life and follow the source of energy back to one of the three fundamental energy sources to the earth and follow the energy forward to the final fate of most energy flows. And prepare for class tomorrow, see below.

Day 4:
P=dE/dt, or power is the time derivative of energy – how fast the energy is changing.

Although total Energy and Momentum are conserved, Energy and momentum can be added to a body from another body through application of FORCE.

Before Class:
1. View Big Picture of Mechanics
2. View Forces Effect on p, v, E
3. View Pushing Box Problem


  • 4.1 Development of Force Concept (FBD, Dynamics intro)
  • 4.2 Newton’s First Law of Motion: Inertia
  • 7.2 Kinetic Energy and Work Energy Theorem
  • 8.1 Linear Momentum and Force
  • 8.3 Conservation of Momentum

During Class:
Time derivatives and the formulas for momentum, kinetic energy.

There will be some assigned reading on derivatives and forces.
Units: Energy (Joules), momentum (kg*meters/second)

Videos I find helpful
Veritasium’s Cool Science Home

Videos I don’t find helpful:

Bill Nye Energy
AK Lectures – Roller Coaster
Science Theater – Energy
AK Lectures