A New College Physics Approach:

 

An Introduction for Instructors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 2003

Table of Contents

 

 

Page

What is Introductory College Physics/ 21st Century?

3

 

Who is ICP/21 intended for?

3

 

How is ICP/21 different from other physics courses?

4

The ICP/21 Modules: Organization and Features

5

 

Module Format

5

 

The Features of ICP/21

7

 

Modeling

9

 

Multiple Representations

10

 

Building Toward Open-Ended Activities

10

 

Instructor Modification of the Modules

11

 

You Can’t Do It All

12

The ICP/21 Modules: Road Maps of the Modules

14

 

Module 1: Motion

14

 

Module 2: Forces

15

 

Module 3: Torque

16

 

Module 4: Work and Energy

17

 

Module 5: Waves and Sound

18

 

Module 6: Heat and Temperature

19

 

Module 7: Fluids

20

 

Module 8: Electrostatics

21

 

Module 9: Electric Circuits

21

 

Module 10: Magnetism

23

 

Module 11: Geometrical Optics

24

 

Module 12: Physical Optics

24

 

Module 13: Quantum Principles

25

 

ToolKit

25

Recognition

27

 

Recognition of Contributors

27

 

Authors of the ICP/21 Modules

28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More and more college students want to know why they need to take physics. This is especially true of technical students in two-year colleges (TYCs), as these students tend to be older, have outside family and job responsibilities, and are highly focused on their unique career goals. These students often loose focus in courses that do not appear to lead directly toward their career goals. The authors of ICP/21 realize these student traits and have developed Introductory College Physics/21st Century (ICP/21), a set of thirteen modules.

 

Each of the thirteen ICP/21 modules covers a different topic in physics. The topics are appropriate for introductory college physics students and include most of the areas found in first-year college physics (for a complete list of the topics covered by ICP/21 see page 28). Each module is sectioned into four or five parts that take about four weeks to complete. Depending on how much of each module an instructor decides to use, four or five modules can be used each semester.

 

A strength of the ICP/21 modules is their flexibility. The ICP/21 modules are written to accommodate the needs of a wide range of courses. The overall mathematical level of the modules is at the college algebra and college trigonometry level. However, if the math level or depth of physics needs to be reduced for technical courses, the modules allow for this flexibility by giving the instructor the option to remove the higher-level mathematical material with no break in continuity.

 

Another strength of the ICP/21 modules is the authors. Physics instructors currently teaching at two-year colleges and universities throughout the United States wrote the modules. One criterion in selecting the authors was their familiarity with the results of recent research in physics education. Another criterion in selecting the authors was their experience with a teaching a physics topic; the authors wrote modules in physics areas where they have the experience to write “real-world” applications.

 

Who is ICP/21 intended for?

The ICP/21 modules were written with the technical student in mind, so applications in both engineering and medicine are found throughout. The types of physics courses these students are likely to take vary nearly as much as their individual technological specialties. Some students take algebra/trigonometry based college physics, while other students take special courses designed by their schools. For technical physics courses, the mathematics requirements vary as well as the backgrounds of the students. In each case the ICP/21 modules can be modified to fit the mathematical and content needs of the course.

 

The thirteen modules of ICP/21 were specifically developed for students at two-year colleges or small four-year colleges, where the classes are smaller, and laboratory and lecture can be easily integrated. Included with the ICP/21 modules are the Toolkit, a reference guide or review of prerequisite material, and the Instructor’s Guide. The ICP/21 modules are intended for students taking either technical physics or transferable algebra/trigonometry-based college physics courses.

           

How is ICP/21 different from other physics courses?

The ICP/21 modules emphasize the importance of students understanding basic physics concepts, and having the confidence to apply them. This approach is in contrast to courses that expose students to a large number of topics, many of which are covered so superficially that the basics are neither understood nor remembered. Several features to help students understand and apply the basic concepts have been integrated into each module:

 

Š      Students are actively engaged. The need for lectures has been greatly reduced, with most classroom time devoted to laboratories, activities, and discussion among students.

 

Š      Cooperative learning is encouraged. Students work together not only in the laboratory, but also in the classroom, exchanging ideas while solving problems.

 

Š      The curriculum is easily modified. One version will incorporate the advantages of using high technology equipment in the laboratory and classroom (MBL, CBL, multimedia, and computer analysis of data) while other tracks allow the instructor to teach the same concepts using traditional equipment. If the instructor has a favorite laboratory for a particular concept, this can be easily substituted.

 

Š      Students’ conceptual models are tested. Through the use of learning cycles students will actively test their own conceptual understandings of our natural world. If their conceptual models do not work, students are led to the construction of a more scientific model that does work.

 

Š      “Real-world” questions are used. ICP/21 uses applications found in industry and medicine throughout the problem sets and examples. Students quickly understand that physics is an important underpinning in their field of study.

 

Š      Modeling is emphasized. Clearly explained in each module are the necessary simplifications and assumptions that physicists make when developing the simple models and theories used in introductory college physics. These models give approximate answers to “real-world” problems.

 

Š      Teaching and learning methods developed through physics education research are used. The ICP/21 modules reflect the results of physics education research. Many of the methods developed by leaders in physics education research are incorporated in the modules.

 

Š      Quantitative problem solving and conceptual understanding are given equal importance. Procedures and problem solving strategies are emphasized, rather than just “getting the right answers.” Students must use multiple representations for most problems and are encouraged to tie together the knowledge gained by analyzing a problem from a pictorial, physical, graphical, and mathematical perspective.

 

The ICP/21 modules are organized so that they begin by introducing a qualitative understanding of a physics concept, and then proceed to develop the quantitative understanding of that concept.

Each module contains several “learning cycles,” in which the students will confront their conceptions of how nature behaves. A learning cycle contains sections that ask students to predict the outcome of an experiment, conduct the

experiment, discuss the results of the experiment, and develop the correct physics model. Within each learning cycle the ICP/21 authors have emphasized modeling to help students understand what simplifications have been made by physics to the “real-world,” and multiple representations have been included to aid students in solving problems.

        The organization of the ICP/21 modules was designed so each module can easily be changed to fit an instructor’s requirements. Each module is available on CD-ROM so instructors can modify the module before having it printed.

        The following sections include an in-depth discussion of the organization and features of the ICP/21 modules.

 

Module Format

 

Each ICP/21 module is organized into approximately four or five parts. Each part will incorporate one or more complete developments of a physics concept, called a learning cycle. The learning cycle was developed by education researchers to help the students to internalize their understanding of physics concepts. The learning cycle used in the ICP/21 modules is described below.

 

 

Introduction: A motivational beginning showing “real‑world” applications. Presents an overarching question to be answered in the section

 

Prediction: Students describe how they think nature behaves in a certain situation before experimenting.

 

Exploration: The hands-on chance for students to test their preconceptions.

 

Reflection: The time for students to compare their current beliefs with what happened in the exploration.

 

Dialog: The model used by scientists is developed, usually by class discussion.

 

Extension: Extends the model with various types of homework problems and activities.

 

Application: Pulls together many of the concepts into an application exercise or capstone project.

 

The Features of ICP/21

 

            The learning cycle is the cornerstone of the teaching method used in ICP/21. The number of learning cycles in each module varies depending on the number of concepts needing development. Before teaching each section, the instructor must understand what each step in the learning cycle is designed to accomplish. The components of the learning cycle are discussed below.

 

Introduction

            The introduction gives the overarching question that the module will answer. It helps the student understand what they can expect to learn throughout the module. The students should read this section on their own.

 

Industrial Application

Another important component of the ICP/21 modules are the Industrial Applications. Industrial Applications are motivational activities that show students the importance of physics in technology. Instructors can use these activities as an opportunity to show physics concepts used in job situations.

 

Each Industrial Application describes a technologist and the physics problem that he or she is encountering on the job. A special effort has been made to indicate diversity among the technologists. The students are introduced to a different technologist’s problem at the beginning of each section in a module, however they must first understand the physics concepts that will be introduced in that section of the module before they can solve the problem. After the students have learned the physics concepts in that section of the module the Industrial Application is reintroduced, and the students are asked to solve the problem.

 

Explorations

            It is essential that all students commit to their preconceptions before doing any laboratory work. This is usually done in a written form but oral statements either to other students or the instructor will also work. Many students do not like to make this commitment, and will have to be repeatedly encouraged to do so.

 

            One teaching technique that has proven effective is to divide the class into groups of three or four students. These groups can work together for one entire module. Often it is best to change the groups after each module so each student will have the opportunity to try different roles.

 

            Before the students begin the experimental part of the exploration, have them write down their answers to the introductory questions. Give them five or ten minutes to complete this step, and then ask the students to share their ideas with others in their group. While they are doing this, go around to each group, make a quick check to make sure that each student has done the predictions (remember there are no right or wrong predictions), and after they have done this give them permission to start the laboratory work.

            The explorations are designed to allow the students to test their predictions experimentally. If the experimental results do not fit their preconceptions students will then be receptive to new ideas.

 

Reflection

            After each exploration students need time to reflect on their results. This may be included as part of the exploration or as part of the dialog following the exploration. It is usually a good idea to bring the students together to discuss the results and answer questions. This discussion and reflection time helps assure that the students are adequately developing the scientific models needed to explain their observations. It also helps you, the instructor, to know which students may need a little extra help in understanding the material.

 

Dialog

            While there are written Dialogs to support the concepts covered in the explorations, most concept development should be carried out through class discussion. At this point the model used by scientists is proposed. Remember that the goal is to have the students develop as many of the concepts as possible on their own. After the students have had time for reflection, ask them to develop a new model that fits the results of their explorations. Be accepting of all student input. When students have good ideas, build upon them. Usually through questioning and with a little direction, the correct physics model can be developed.

 

Extensions

            Extensions are the homework. Many Extensions contain more problems than would be reasonable to ask students to do. Each instructor will need to determine which ones are appropriate for his or her students. Examples are often given in the Dialogs, but sometimes you will need to work an example for the students. It is important to have students show all their work for homework problems. Many students think the "answer" is the most important part of a problem. If you want the students to show all the work and representations, give credit to each representation and only count the answer as no more than 10 to 20% of the total points.

 

            An effective technique for developing problem-solving skills is to have students work the problems on the board in class the day they are due. Have the students write on a slip of paper all the homework problems they have completed. These slips are placed in a bucket and drawn at random. If the slip drawn indicates that the needed problem has been completed, that student puts the problem on the board. Four or five students can put different problems on the board at once to save time. When they are done, go over each problem so that students can see how to approach different types of problems. At the beginning of each module the student work is not very complete, but they slowly learn the expected procedures. Give students credit for doing the board work.

 

            Collecting and grading homework is very time consuming, but is a necessary part of the learning process. You may decide to collect the homework on the day it is due, or you may want to collect it the day after board work to give students a chance to work the problems correctly. Alternately, you may decide to collect homework only once during each module. If so, have the students keep a spiral notebook for their homework so that it is all in one place. This makes it easier for students to review and study and for you to grade.

 

Summary

            It is important to have the students write out the description of their new models as they are developed. Generally this will be done as part of the Extensions. Discuss the models in class and have students share their ideas. When you are choosing which Extension questions to assign, be sure you don’t skip these writing exercises. Many students have trouble writing and they need to be encouraged to include all the details. Suggest that they use diagrams and analogies to help their explanations. If students do not do this after each section, test results are usually disappointing.

 

            An idea would be to allow the students to turn in their answers to these descriptions up to a week before the test. The instructor should not comment on the quality of the write-ups, but make suggestions how they can be incorporated. This gives direction to the students who have a difficulty expressing themselves.

 

Applications

            Each ICP/21 module contains several activities called Applications, which are an important component of ICP/21. The Applications can best be described as mini capstone projects. The students work in groups to research and develop the solution to the problem, with each group being assigned a different Application. To develop the solution each group needs to apply several physics concepts. Each group presents their research and solution in a short written report and short oral presentation to the class.

 

 

Modeling

 

ICP/21 takes a modeling approach. Students need to understand the assumptions that are necessary to make a theory or the equations work. They should also realize how closely a particular model would describe the "real world." It is important for the instructor emphasize which model is being used in each situation and what assumptions had to be made in order to make the model work.

 

            In most modules the model is constantly expanding and changing as each successive Exploration gives new results that do not fit the existing model. Therefore, when discussing results with the students the instructor must be aware of the current model being used so that future discoveries are not given away.

 

 

 

 

 

Multiple Representations

 

Multiple-representation problem solving is the expression of a problem in several different ways to better illustrate a complete understanding of the situation. In ICP/21 up to four different representations are used. The representations used for any particular problem depends on which ones are appropriate. The four representations are listed below.

 

 

 

 

 

            Instructors using ICP/21 encourage their students to look for the relationships between each of the different representations. Encouraging students to learn these relationships broadens their understanding of the problem, thus they are less likely to try to simply memorize possible solutions for each representation.

 

 

Building Toward Open-Ended Activities

 

Any activity can be broken down into three components:

 

1.     The problem that needs to be solved.

2.     The procedure that should be followed to solve the problem.

3.     The solution to the problem.

 

When assigning an activity to a student, the instructor needs to determine how many of these components to give the student. A simple matrix (shown on the next page) can be constructed to show the instructor's options.

 

Problem

Procedure

Solution

Instructor provides

Instructor provides

Instructor provides

Instructor provides

Instructor provides

Students develop

Instructor provides

Students develop

Students develop

Students develop

Students develop

Students develop

 

            In traditional laboratories students are usually given the problem, the procedure, and the solution. They follow the procedure and see how close they come to the solution that has been provided. ICP/21 requires students to develop some of the components of the activities. Early Explorations provide the problem and the procedure, and students must develop the solution. Later Explorations and Applications give only a problem, and the students must design a procedure and get a solution. These later Explorations and Applications are more challenging than the earlier Explorations. By giving activities with varying degrees of freedom, students are led to develop their problem-solving and analytical skills. The ICP/21 instructors must be aware of the problem components being given to the students for each Exploration, and realize the students will need extra time and encouragement if fewer than two of the steps are provided.

 

 

Instructor Modification of the Modules

The modules and the Student Toolkit are available on CD-ROM. An important part of the CD-ROM is an Instructor’s Guide. It will contain notes to the instructor throughout the text that will give teaching hints and solutions to Extensions, indicate the problem areas for the students, suggest alternative ways to help students develop models, and make references to supplemental texts, software, CD-ROMs, and videotapes. Also included are ideas and references for encouraging students to “dig deeper” if they want to increase their understanding of a topic. The Instructor’s Guide will also contain all alternate versions of the Explorations.

 

For the instructor who doesn’t want to customize the modules, a pre-selected student edition will be on the CD-ROM in MS Word format. In this “quick-pick” version of the modules, the authors have made decisions as to which Explorations to include. However, the instructor has the option of editing the student module to fit his or her students and teaching preferences. Many Explorations will have multiple options. Explorations (laboratories) can be deleted, added, or modified to fit the school’s equipment. When high-tech options are offered using MBL (computer interfacing), there will usually be an activity teaching the same concept using more conventional equipment. Extensions (problems) can be deleted, added, or changed to fit the mathematics level of the students and to make them relate better to the type of technology student in the class. The instructor can even delete sections of the module so that the content can fit into certain time constraints.

Once the instructor completes the final version of the student edition, a hard copy can be printed. This copy can be sent to the school’s print shop or a local printer to make copies for student use. Local printing will keep the cost of the modules at a minimum.

You Can’t Do It All

 

Using activity-based teaching methods takes more classroom time than the traditional lecture method. If you have been using the lecture method, you will often feel frustrated that the class isn't moving faster. In the lecture method the instructor sets the pace, generally following tradition as to how much time is spent on each topic. Students are then judged on how much they have learned in that time. Physics education research shows that many students (even the better students) never really learn the concepts when taught under such an approach. Most students will only memorize how to mimic the problem solving strategies the instructor and textbook have shown them.

 

            When teaching with ICP/21 it is important to monitor students' understanding. Don't just listen to the outspoken students, but get feedback from as many students as possible. It is also important to keep the pace going. You can never reach everyone. If the goal is to complete the majority of four modules, there is a need to not waste time. On the other hand, if the students are having problems, another class on that topic will often pay off with many students finally understanding the concepts.

 

            Most students are familiar with the lecture method, and will wait until the last week or two to study for a test. Instructors using ICP/21 materials will need to work to break this mold. Students must constantly be pushed to study and review the material being discussed. If students don't do this they will want more time before the test when they suddenly realize they can't use their old memorization method to prepare for a test. Instructors should not submit to these requests. The students will realize after the first test how they should study. The truth about activity-based learning is that the students must take greater responsibility for their own learning. Most students grow to like this teaching and learning style, but some will not adjust. There will always be a small minority of students who will blame an instructor’s teaching methods because they can't memorize their way to a "B" or an "A". Because of the more open atmosphere in the classroom they may tend to vocalize their frustration more readily than they would in a controlled lecture-based course.

 

            When using ICP/21 it is important for the instructor to be as open and as accepting of students’ ideas and comments as possible. Instructors will hear comments and ideas that will make them feel disappointed that the students don’t “get it." Remember that the goal is to have students honestly express their viewpoints and then, hopefully, to have them develop the accepted physics model or concept after seeing experimental evidence. Students are very sensitive to whether or not the instructor is accepting of their ideas. Some students have difficulty grasping the concepts, and if the instructor puts them down, other students will not be willing to share. If all students are allowed to contribute there will almost always be a student or group of students that will be close enough to the accepted idea that the instructor can build upon it and help the class create the accepted model. The idea is to break down the barrier between the instructor and student as far as discussion of physics concepts is concerned. One inappropriate comment to a student can quickly destroy this atmosphere of cooperation.

The typical table of contents for a college physics textbook has far too many topics to allow the students to understand all the topics in a semester (or even two semesters). This is true for most students, even if they had a good high school background. The instructor must therefore decide what material should be covered before starting instruction. This is also true with ICP/21. An instructor would have to push hard to complete four full modules in one semester. However, many technical programs won't require the mathematics level of the last section of the modules, so that section could be skipped. Or perhaps a program is interested in having the students cover the concepts with only minimal math. In this case the more mathematical sections could be deleted or shortened. As the instructor you can cut and paste this material and only print what you use. In the next section of this Introduction you will find a “road map” each module.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the following sections a “road map” of each module is given. These road maps are brief descriptions of the contents, organization, and teaching methods found in each module.

Additional information related to teaching a course using the ICP/21 modules is available in the Instructors Guide, which is included with the modules.

 

Module 1: Motion

  This module looks at kinematics. A conceptual understanding of displacement, velocity and acceleration are emphasized, and graphing is used extensively. The multiple-representations used in the module are:

 

Š      Real-world representation: a sketch of the situation.

Š      Physics representation: a motion diagram representing the motion of the object of interest.

Š      Mathematical representation: a listing of the knowns, unknowns, equation and solution.

Š      Graphical representation: standard graphs of position, velocity and acceleration as functions of time.

 

Since Motion is the first module and must lay the groundwork for future modules, it takes 3-4 weeks to complete the first three sections. This is partly because of the time it takes to acclimate the students to a new way of learning.

 

Part 1

In this section students develop a model of a coordinate system, including the concept of a zero point. The differences between position, distance traveled and displacement are emphasized, and motion diagrams as a representation to help understanding are introduced. This is a short section and can generally be completed in 1-2 class periods, depending on how long a period is. Some parts of this section can even be assigned as homework and discussed in class. Video clips on motion can be shown at this time to reinforce the material.

 

Part 2

In this part of the module the students start investigating the ways that motion can be described. This is done through the use of graphing utilities that have built in curve fitting routines. If you do not have such tools available, you should still encourage the students to develop as much as they can on their own. Even hand graphed linear relationships can give slopes and intercepts for the purposes of determining equations of motion, and quadratic graphs can be converted to linear graphs to achieve the same purpose. The main concepts developed are average and instantaneous speed and velocity in one dimension, including graphs corresponding to positive and negative displacements.

 

Part 3

This is the big step. The students develop motion diagrams for changing velocities and procedures for determining the sign of the acceleration. Vector quantities in one dimension are introduced. The students experimentally and graphically develop the kinematics equations. Graphing is emphasized heavily in this section.        Students also begin developing the algebra problem-solving skills needed for kinematics word problems.

            The instructor needs to determine how much kinematics should be done. If your students don't have good algebra skills you may want to eliminate some of the extension problems in Part 3.

 

Part 4

            The focus of this section is 2-dimensional motion. If you are teaching a course that does not require two-dimensional motion, this entire section can be deleted with no loss of continuity. Likewise, if you do cover it, you can choose the mathematical level to which you want to take the students. The section starts out looking at only horizontally projected objects, and then extends the concept to objects projected at an angle. In this last part of the module, students will be asked to consider the motion of an object moving in two dimensions. If you skip this section students will still get a good dose of vectors and 2-dimensional situations in the Force Module.

 

 

Module 2: Forces

           

This module develops the concepts behind Newton's Laws of Motion. The concept of force as an interaction is emphasized. The multiple representations used in this module are:

 

Š      Real world representation: a sketch of the situation. Students are asked to identify the object of interest and to label forces acting on the object.

Š      Physics representation: a force (free-body) diagram. Motion diagrams are also used where applicable.

Š      Mathematical representation: a listing of the knowns, unknowns, equation and solution.

Š      Graphical representation: standard graphs of force as a function of acceleration (and vice versa) and acceleration as a function of mass. Standard kinematics graphs are also used where applicable.

Part 1

            Newton’s First Law is investigated through experiment. Students also see that force and acceleration are proportional, although the Second Law is not developed formally at this point.

 

Part 2

            Students learn the importance of first identifying the object or system when analyzing the forces acting on the object. The point particle model is also introduced. Students develop skills in identifying forces: tension, weight, normal (develops a model for this force) and friction (develops a model for this force). Students learn and practice a procedure for constructing free body diagrams.

 

Part 3
In this section the concepts of mass and weight and their relationship to each other are developed. Students also experimentally find Newton’s Second Law and learn procedures for working with applications of the laws of motion.

 

If you are not going to be using Part 5 on two-dimensional forces and complex systems, you could end the module after this section. Part 4 is very short, dealing with Newton’s Third Law and the concept of forces as interactions, but could be left out if time constraints require it.

 

Part 4

            This short section develops the concept that forces come in pairs. It emphasizes forces as interactions. The activities and dialogs emphasize the idea that after an object has been identified for study, only one of the forces in the force pair will act on the object of interest. That force will come from something outside of the object.

 

Part 5

            In this section students learn to take components of forces and to work with forces in two dimensions. Depending on the needs of your students and their mathematical level, you may want to do only part of this section or even skip it entirely. The problems in the Extensions get more complex the further you go in the section. The mathematical level of this section of the module is at the college physics (algebra/trig) level. You should do this section only if you want this course to transfer at that level. If, however, your students are in a program where they only have an intermediate algebra background, leave this section out.

 

 

Module 3: Torque

           

Students are first confronted with the fact that their point particle model from Motion and Force doesn’t work in all situations. Through observations, they then find that the point of application of the force makes a difference. From that point the concept of torque is developed.

The multiple-representations used in this module are:

 

Š      Real world representation: a sketch of the situation.

Š      Physics representation: a rigid-body free body diagram. Students must identify the forces acting on the object of interest and the points of application of those forces.

Š      Mathematical representation: starts with a listing of the knowns and unknowns. Students must then choose an axis of rotation, determine torques, write appropriate equations and get a solution.

Part 1

This section introduces the rigid body model for real objects. Rigid body equilibrium is the central condition that is explored through examples, experiments, conceptual exercises, and problems to be solved. Students are introduced to the effects of forces that do not act at the same point on a rigid object. Torque is then defined as the product of a force and the perpendicular distance from a point or axis of rotation to the line of action of the force.

 

Part 2

In this section the students develop the idea that the sum of the torques equals zero for a rigid body in equilibrium. They learn the concept of center of mass and how to calculate torque for non-perpendicular forces. They finish the section with practice in problem solving for rotational equilibrium.

 

Part 3

This section emphasizes the development of the mathematical skills needed to evaluate systems that are in both rotational and translational equilibrium. This usually involves 3 equations and three unknowns. There are some interesting examples and applications. However, if this is beyond the mathematical ability of your students or is unnecessary for your class, this section may be skipped.

 

 

Module 4: Work and Energy

  This module develops the concept of work, and then extends the idea to show that work causes changes in a system. From there the concept of energy is developed as a means of tracking those changes. The multiple representations used are:

 

 

Part 1

            This section introduces the concept of work and how to calculate it. It begins with forces parallel to displacement, and then through experiment extends the concept to include forces that are not parallel to displacement. The idea of negative work is also discussed.

 

Part 2

            This is a short section that shows that the work done by a non-constant force must be handled in a different manner that constant forces. Students learn to determine the work done by taking the area under a force versus position graph.

 

Part 3

            In this section students explore how work is associated with some type of change in the system. Through these explorations they discover the relationship between work and energy. The various types of mechanical energies are introduced. The work-energy theorem is developed, and time is spent developing the techniques of working with this relationship. Energy bar charts are introduced as a way of visualizing changes in the system.

 
Part 4

            This section introduces the principle of conservation of energy and shows how the work-energy theorem can be used to solve problems related to conservation of energy. This is the main problem-solving section of the module.

 

Part 5

            In this short section students are introduced to the concept of efficiency. They discover how efficiency affects real-world systems.

 

 

Module 5: Waves and Sound

           

            This is a fairly short module. It incorporates the basic properties and descriptions of waves with applications of sound in the real world. The multiple representations used are:

 

 

Part1

            This section introduces the concept of a wave by asking students to consider wave that they are familiar with. For instructors who need only a conceptual treatment of waves with minimal math, this section could be the only one that would need to be covered. It develops the basic mathematics of waves, and includes types of waves, speed of a wave, wave superposition, interference and standing waves.

 
Part 2

            This section describes how the properties of waves apply to sound. Included are explorations into the production of sound, the need for a medium, the factors that affect the speed of sound, standing sound waves and the mathematics of sound. Most course will end the sound module at this point, as the next section includes more specialized information.

 

Part 3

            In this section students explore environmental sound and noise. They learn the concepts of intensity and loudness and the differences between pure sounds and noise. In addition, they discover some ways that noise in the environment can be managed. This section could be deleted if time is a factor.

 

 

Module 6: Heat and Temperature

 

            This is another fairly short module. It starts with the concept of temperature and relates it to the previously studied concept of energy. Phase changes an heat transfer are also discussed. The multiple representation used are:

 

 

Part 1

            The first concept developed is that of temperature. Students calibrate a thermometer to use in measuring changes in temperature. The concept of heat is introduced using energy and identified systems, following the format that was used in the Work and Energy module. The relationship between heat and change in temperature is established.

Part 2

            In this section students learn how to solve energy balance problems using energy bar charts. Phase changes are introduced, and both latent heat of fusion and laten heat of vaporization are discussed.

 

Part 3

            This section concentrates on the mechanism of heat transfer. Students look at applications of conduction, convection and radiation as well as methods of controlling heat transfer.

 

Part 4

            This is a short optional section that covers Newton’s law of cooling.

 

 

Module 7: Fluids

           

            This short overview of the properties of fluids includes both static fluids and fluids in motion. The emphasis throughout the module is on applications. The multiple representations used are:

 

 

Part 1

            The concept of density is developed for solids, and then extended to liquids. Surface tension is measured experimentally and discussed by modeling the forces on a molecule.

 

Part 2

            Students investigate the properties of fluids at rest through a series of explorations. The main topics covered are pressure and buoyancy. Students learn to apply these principles in several real-world systems such as water tanks, hydraulic lifts and human lungs.

Part 3

            The properties of fluids in motion are developed through a series of explorations, eventually cumulating in Bernoulli’s equation. As in Part 3, the emphasis is on applications. Students look not only at liquids, but also at moving gasses.

 

Module 8: Electrostatics

           

            This short module develops the basic properties of static charges. The topics covered include types of charges, Coulomb’s law and the concept of a field. It is not necessary to cover this module before using the Electric Circuits module. If Electrostatic is covered, however, it probably should be done prior to the Electric Circuits module. If all that is desired is an introduction to charge and charge carriers prior to covering circuits, only the first section of this module would be needed. The multiple representations used are:

 

 

Part 1

            Students experiment with charged objects to show the presence of charge, attraction and repulsion, and the existence of two types of charge. The principle of conservation of charge is introduced. This section is purely descriptive.

 
Part 2

            Coulomb’s law is introduced, primarily in one dimension. Although two-dimensional problems are introduced in the final Dialog and Extension in this section, they could be skipped if students do not have the required mathematical skills.

 

Part 3

            This section develops the idea of the electric field, first conceptually and then mathematically. If students do not have the math skills to deal with vector quantities, the section could be ended after the conceptual description of the field.

 

 

Module 9: Electric Circuits

           

This module develops the basic idea of an electric circuit as well as the main concepts used in circuit analysis: current, resistance, potential difference and energy transfer. An important tool in the development of the concepts of electric circuits is the capacitor. While RC circuits are not covered as a separate topic, the properties of RC circuits are used to help develop the basic properties of current and potential difference. The multiple representations used are: