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 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 33: Rocket Train Simulation in Relativity

Relativity has been spending several days working carefully through a set of questions and using a computer simulation that Noah Segal put together (based on David Mermin’s rocket train situation). You can see a similar activity in this post by Chad Orzel about a low-tech class simulation. The questions are challenging, so every once in a while we’ve been whiteboarding our ideas and sharing them with each other. Continue reading Day 33: Rocket Train Simulation in Relativity

Day 11: Enthusiastic Arguments in Relativity

In Relativity, we continued with our relative motion questions (via Preconceptions in Mechanics). We’ve been using Plickers, which the kids really adore (and which I feel ambivalent about—the tech is really nice and works easily and quickly; I don’t like that it forces everyone to the same pace). In any case, the discussions have been… animated. You can get just a tiny sense of things … Continue reading Day 11: Enthusiastic Arguments in Relativity

Day 7: First Day of Classes!

YAY! At long last, classes are finally happening! I love these first days. My relativity class got started with a buggy investigation this morning. The groups spread out around the school wherever they could find space since our class doesn’t meet in the physics lab. Really eager, lively group, and I’m excited to get to the really confusing stuff soon. We’re spending the first two … Continue reading Day 7: First Day of Classes!