Week 1, 121 W2020

Back to Main Class Website

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?

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 or next 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. The first time you click on a video link, “PlayPosit” will ask you for your Email and a password and you should enroll in the Winter 2020 121 class. It’s free. You need to do this to get credit for video watching (a large portion of your grade). Please record  your password somewhere when you do this, so we don’t have to go through the difficult process of retrieval.
  2. Watch the video about our unique way of learning physics: How we are learning physics 
  3.  Read the syllabus (link on main website), know how you are graded.
  4. See this video about the syllabus. The video was made for the Fall 2019 141 class, but syllabus hasn’t changed since then.
  5.  Reading: Section 1.0: Introduction in the textbook (link on main class website).
  6. Do you know how you learn? Most people think they do, but their beliefs don’t match a study’s results! Please see for yourself by taking this short quiz on NPR.
  7. Please have a look at Home Work #1 (HW), posted on main class website, due next week Monday.

During Class

  • We will introduce ourselves. Be prepared to provide your name, major, something you’re passionate about, and something about you and physics.
  • We receive chapter #1 of the text/workbook.
  • We will spend a short time discussing the videos. How is this learning format going to work for you?
  • How do we watch a video?

Your responsibility in this class is to develop working relationships with other students. Our class is a social environment, and we will work together solving problems, arguing about concepts, studying for exams and doing projects. Because I won’t always be there in front of you, you will need to work with your peers, and you will also need to take the initiative to say, “Pete, we all have a question.” Lastly, you don’t need to wait until office hours to get together for study or group, and the working area outside my office is always there.


After Class
HW #1 is due next Monday in class.


Units: distance (meters), speed (meters/second), or speed is the rate of change of distance: v=Δx/Δt, Force (Newtons)
Before Class:
    1. View “Four Concepts” video, 4 kinds of physics questions
    2. Read through Problem Set #1
    3. Watch Veritassium video, Say the Wrong Thing
    4. Read more about confusion on NPR: Confusion is How it Feels to Learn
    5. Read the paper I published about our learning method in The Physics Teacher. Figure out if this is going to work for you. This document is not going to be tested… If you don’t want to read the paper, maybe you look at it and read the first paragraphs and the two conclusions….
    6. Read the following in the text/work book (link on main class website).
      • 1.1 Momentum
      • 1.2 Energy
      • 1.3 Dynamics, Pay Special attention to this one… what do forces do?
      • 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 today 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 magnitudes (how big they are)!
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 Position and Velocity
  2. View Energy Flows 
  3. Please consider this scientific study about learning. You can read the whole thing if you like, but certainly read the significance:
    “Despite active learning being recognized as a superior method of instruction in the classroom, a major recent survey found that most college STEM instructors still choose traditional teaching methods. This article addresses the long-standing question of why students and faculty remain resistant to active learning. Comparing passive lectures with active learning using a randomized experimental approach and identical course materials, we find that students in the active classroom learn more, but they feel like they learn less. We show that this negative correlation is caused in part by the increased cognitive effort required during active learning. Faculty who adopt active learning are encouraged to intervene and address this misperception, and we describe a successful example of such an intervention.”
  4. Please do this Short Survey #1. It counts as a video.
  5. Work on PS #1
  6. Please read our guild book (The text/work book, link on main class website):
  • Please review 1.1 – 1.4 with special attention on what we learned from 1.3 – what forces do.
  • Please also review 1.4 for tomorrow’s class – how would we measure speed with a video?

In Class:
Assessment #1.


What if you want to see a video the second time and also want to see the questions? Just click on the small vertical bars at the bottom of the video that indicate where the questions are located in the video.

Before Class:

  1. Work on Problem Set #1, due Monday
  2. View Dropping Rock.
  3. View Acceleration Video.
  4. We can estimate speed and acceleration of a rocket by taking a video of it. This is the foundation of our video project that we will do next week, so learn all you can from this video. I slow the video down a considerable amount. However, you may want to slow it down more in youtube if this helps. In order to see the youtube url, you have to right click on the video. Remember in order to get credit for the video, you have to watch it on PlayPosit until the end of the video.
  5. Read about:
    • section 1.5 Acceleration
    • section 1.6: Potential and Kinetic Energy

6. Please do Short Survey #2.

During class,
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?

After Class

Videos I find helpful:
Veritasium’s Cool Science Home