Day 11: Bear and the Honey and the final day of CAPM

We spent our Mechanics class solving problems and working on good habits (keeping units attached to numbers, using physically meaningful symbols). I let it take up the time today, and I went around to different groups as they worked to get as many people as possible to see how using the slope and the area of the v-t graph wasn’t as overwhelming as it seemed … Continue reading Day 11: Bear and the Honey and the final day of CAPM

Day 9: Rules for the Direction of the Unbalanced Force

The set of problems today asked students to draw multiple representations based on given velocity-time graphs, but also to say whether the forces were balanced, unbalanced in the positive direction, or unbalanced in the negative direction. After the first problem, one student volunteered a rule (I didn’t prompt this!)—that the unbalanced forces were correlated with the acceleration. That 0 acceleration means balanced forces, positive acceleration means positive unbalanced forces, … Continue reading Day 9: Rules for the Direction of the Unbalanced Force

Day 8: “Aha” moments with kinematics graphs

Kinematics is clicking into place for the Mechanics students. We wrapped up the TIPERs problems in our packet (including whiteboarding), and we’re ready to add in the quantitative side by using the graphs to solve problems. For this problem, there was a lively discussion about tangent lines (ARE THEY REAL OR MADE UP???), the intermediate value theorem, and whether you could say two things had the same speed … Continue reading Day 8: “Aha” moments with kinematics graphs

Day 6: Translating between graphs, TIPERs, and Light Clocks

Relativity (the class) made the shift from “regular old” relative motion to the beginnings of Special Relativity by thinking about the light clock. When we were trying to think about the difference in path length for the light in the stationary clock versus moving clock, one student went up to make the connection to the ball falling on the moving cart from the Frames of … Continue reading Day 6: Translating between graphs, TIPERs, and Light Clocks

Day 4: Position, Velocity, Acceleration

We sorted ourselves into new (random) groups, worked for a bit, started whiteboarding problems, and finished with our first quiz in Advanced Mechanics. We were working on this TIPERs problem (pasted into a page in my CAPM packet): It’s the first time I’ve used this problem, and I am totally in love with it. Amazing conversations are happening, and the whiteboarding is really productive so … Continue reading Day 4: Position, Velocity, Acceleration

Day 3: What does a negative acceleration mean?

We didn’t answer that question today, but we asked it a lot. Almost everyone in the class has really wondered that on their own by now. One student has proposed that it has to do with the direction of the forces, but that didn’t get much traction (yet). We will come back to that question and idea soon enough. We worked through their findings from … Continue reading Day 3: What does a negative acceleration mean?

Day 1: Carts, Ramps, and Sensors (Oh My)

Today was (finally!) the first day of classes. This year, I’m teaching 1 section of Advanced Mechanics (basically AP 1), 2 sections of a yearlong 9th grade Modeling Chemistry class, and 2 trimesters of other science electives (Special Relativity in the fall, Physics of Sound & Music in the winter). Advanced Mechanics is a total treat to teach. It’s an amazing group of kids who … Continue reading Day 1: Carts, Ramps, and Sensors (Oh My)