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Kácovský, Petr – Physics Teacher, 2018
In the last decade, a powerful tool has been given to physics teachers to visualize thermodynamic phenomena. Thermal imaging cameras are fascinating devices opening the world of (even small) temperature changes and being able to uncover hidden manifestations of many processes around us. This paper describes a few qualitative thermal imaging…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Problem Based Learning, Physics, Thermodynamics
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Oliver, Douglas L. – Physics Teacher, 2018
The study of vibration in uniform beams provides physics teachers with a platform by which a broad range of physics vibration-related topics can be explored without expensive and specialized equipment. This paper presents two laboratory exercises related to lateral beam vibrations. These exercises use beam theory coupled with free sound-analysis…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Physics, Science Laboratories, Science Activities
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Nelson, Jim; Nelson, Jane Bray – Physics Teacher, 2015
In this paper, a discrepant event is used to initiate a learning cycle lesson to help students develop an understanding of the concept and equation for buoyant force. The data are gathered using readily available equipment and then graphically analyzed using a four-step analysis consistent with the modeling instructional approach. This laboratory…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Physics, Scientific Principles, Scientific Concepts
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Allen, Bradley; Liu, Tongtian – Physics Teacher, 2015
Calculating the effective resistance of an electrical network is a common problem in introductory physics courses. Such calculations are typically restricted to two-dimensional networks, though even such networks can become increasingly complex, leading to several studies on their properties. Furthermore, several authors have used advanced…
Descriptors: Electronics, Physics, Computation, Introductory Courses
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Olson, Don; Hook, Joseph; Doescher, Russell; Wolf, Steven – Physics Teacher, 2015
This month marks the 75th anniversary of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse. During a gale on Nov. 7, 1940, the bridge exhibited remarkable oscillations before collapsing spectacularly (Figs. 1-5). Physicists over the years have spent a great deal of time and energy studying this event. By using open-source analysis tools and digitized footage of…
Descriptors: Scientists, Mechanics (Physics), Films, Video Technology
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Lane, W. Brian – Physics Teacher, 2014
The traditional lab report is known to create several pedagogical shortcomings in the introductory physics course, particularly with regard to promoting student engagement and encouraging quality writing. This paper discusses the use of a "letter home" written to a non-physicist as an alternative to lab reports that creates a more…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Physics, Teaching Methods, Writing Assignments
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Oostra, Benjamin – Physics Teacher, 2014
I present a novel way to introduce the lunar orbital eccentricity in introductory astronomy courses. The Moon is perhaps the clearest illustration of the general orbital elements such as inclination, ascending node, eccentricity, perigee, and so on. Furthermore, I like the students to discover astronomical phenomena for themselves, by means of a…
Descriptors: Astronomy, Science Instruction, Secondary School Science, High Schools
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Corrao, Christian T. – Physics Teacher, 2014
A challenge: Can you create a stable top from a single paper clip? Several interesting solutions to this problem were provided by Takao Sakai from Japan, the requirement of each being that the center of gravity be located on the vertical y-axis at the center of the top. In the simplest configuration, we see that there exists a single angle ?…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Physics, Science Activities, Scientific Concepts
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Planinšic, Gorazd; Etkina, Eugenia – Physics Teacher, 2014
LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, are cheap, easy to purchase, and thus commonly used in physics instruction as indicators of electric current or as sources of light (Fig. 1). In our opinion LEDs represent a unique piece of equipment that can be used to collect experimental evidence, and construct and test new ideas in almost every unit of a general…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Physics, Light, Energy
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White, Susan C. – Physics Teacher, 2013
We have just completed the data collection for our 2012-13 Nationwide Survey of High School Physics and expect to have results to report in the spring. In the interim, we will take a look at physics in two-year colleges (TYCs). In 2007, we surveyed undergraduate seniors in degree-granting physics departments, and we asked these students if they…
Descriptors: National Surveys, Student Surveys, Physics, College Seniors
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Orzel, Chad; Reich, Gary; Marr, Jonathan – Physics Teacher, 2012
The proper choice of a measurement technique that minimizes systematic and random uncertainty is an essential part of experimental physics. These issues are difficult to teach in the introductory laboratory, though. Because most experiments involve only a single measurement technique, students are often unable to make a clear distinction between…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, Science Experiments, Laboratory Experiments
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Gagnon, Michel – Physics Teacher, 2012
Introduced to study components of ionized gas, the mass spectrometer has evolved into a highly accurate device now used in many undergraduate and research laboratories. Unfortunately, despite their importance in the formation of future scientists, mass spectrometers remain beyond the financial reach of many high schools and colleges. As a result,…
Descriptors: Simulation, Science Laboratories, Computer Software, Spectroscopy
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Gonzalez-Espada, Wilson J. – Physics Teacher, 2012
Many of us have played the PC Solitaire game that comes as standard software in many computers. Although I am not a great player, occasionally I win a game or two. The game celebrates my accomplishment by pushing the cards forward, one at a time, falling gracefully in what appears to look like a parabolic path in a drag-free environment. One day,…
Descriptors: Physics, Computer Games, Science Instruction, Science Activities
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Milanick, Mark – Physics Teacher, 2012
Two of the most frustrating things for me as a teacher are the way units and jargon can get in the way of understanding concepts. When I teach pre-nursing and medical students about blood pressure, they end up memorizing a lot of information that would be obvious if they had remembered some of their basic physics--particularly the ability to…
Descriptors: Physics, Medicine, Science Instruction, Jargon
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Gagnon, Michel – Physics Teacher, 2012
Early in the last century, Robert Millikan developed a precise method of determining the electric charge carried by oil droplets. Using a microscope and a small incandescent lamp, he observed the fall of charged droplets under the influence of an electric field inside a small observation chamber. In so doing, Millikan demonstrated the existence of…
Descriptors: Physics, Fuels, Energy, Science Experiments
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