We will investigate motion in the world around us; we welcome both those
who want to participate fully and those who wish to sample, cafeteria-style,
the activities of this course. Those who participate fully will experience
a course that is very different in style but equivalent (at least) in core
content to a traditional, on-campus, first-semester college-level introductory
physics course that includes a laboratory. At the same time, those who
cherry-pick selected course elements (e.g., learning the basics of video
capture and analysis of motion in one’s own surroundings) will still advance
their understanding of physics.
We aim to understand and to predict motion in the real world using a small set of powerful fundamental principles. The laboratories are the backbone of this course, providing opportunities (1) to observe and to analyze motion in our own surroundings, (2) to apply fundamental principles to build explanations of the motion, and (3) to evaluate, in a constructively critical way, our own measurements and models, as well as the measurements and models of our course peers. Other course elements (lecture videos with “clicker” questions, homework) support and extend the physics explored in the laboratories.Participants who satisfactorily complete the course will be eligible for six (6) Continuing Education Units from the American Association of Physics Teachers.
(NB: This syllabus will be revised soon to reflect a 16-week term; please check back later. )
Week 1: Motion in 1D: Kinematics, Vectors (Part 1) & Newton’s 2nd Law
Lab 0: Install Video Analysis & Computer Modeling Software
Week 2: Motion in 1D: Prediction of Motion; Constant/Non-Constant Forces
Lab 1: Constant Velocity Motion in Your Surroundings
Week 3: Motion in > 1D: Vectors (Part 2) & Newton’s 2nd Law
Week 4: Motion in > 1D: Prediction of Motion; Momentum
Lab 2: Free Fallin’ with Drag (1D Dynamics)
Week 5: Curving Motion, Including Uniform/Non-Uniform Circular Motion
Week 6: Energy Principle; Work
Lab 3: Galactic Black Holes (>1D Dynamics)
Week 7: Multiparticle Systems: Potential Energy
Week 8: Energy Applications
Lab 4: Rope Physics in Sports (Forces & Energy)
Week 9: Energy & Momentum: Collisions
Week 10: Angular Momentum Principle
Lab 5: Free Choice Project (Energy & Momentum)Week 11: Final Exam; Lab 5 Submit & Evaluate
No background with computer programming is required.
Participants with nothing more than some experience in basic algebra (and a sense of adventure!) will be able to participate in at least some of the labs and other course work.
Participants with good algebra and trigonometry skills but no background in calculus will be able to participate almost all labs and most other course work.
Those who have some familiarity with calculus will be able to participate in all aspects of the course.
Suggested reading assignments will be drawn from the textbook, Matter and Interactions: Volume 1 Modern Mechanics,
3rd edition, (R. Chabay & B. Sherwood, Wiley). We plan to provide course
participants with limited time, free access to the suggested readings.
Course participants will also have the opportunity to purchase permanent
access to the textbook.
Each lab (one approximately every two weeks) will typically (but not always)
begin with observation and video capture of a particular type of motion
in one's own surroundings. You will need to use a smartphone camera or
a webcam to capture video. We will then use video analysis software to
extract motion data. Fundamental principles will be applied to construct
models (including computer models) of the observed motion. Every student
will record a video lab report comparing these observations and submit
it for peer review. Course participants will evaluate the video lab
reports submitted by peers.
The lab work will be supported and extended by short lecture videos in which short conceptual "clicker" questions are integrated. There will be homework assignments and a final exam.
Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment from Georgia Tech C21U.