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El-Helou, Joseph; Kalman, Calvin S. – Physics Teacher, 2018
Science teachers can always benefit from efficient tools that help students to engage with the subject and understand it better without significantly adding to the teacher's workload nor requiring too much of class time to manage. Reflective writing is such a low-impact, high-return tool. What follows is an introduction to reflective writing, and…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Physics, Reflection, Writing Assignments
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Hahn, Kenneth D.; Russell, Jacob M. – Physics Teacher, 2018
It has been noted that the static friction force poses challenges for students and, at times, even their instructors. Unlike the gravitational force, which has a precise and unambiguous magnitude (F[subscript G] = mg), the magnitude and direction of the static friction force depend on other forces at play. Friction can be understood rather well in…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, Scientific Concepts, Concept Formation
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Ekkens, Tom – Physics Teacher, 2018
In introductory physics classes, a laser pointer and a compact disc are all the items required to illustrate diffraction of light in a single dimension. If a two-dimensional diffraction pattern is desired, double axis diffraction grating material is available or a CCD sensor can be extracted from an unused electronics device. This article presents…
Descriptors: Introductory Courses, Physics, Science Instruction, Light
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Hawley, Scott H.; McClain, Robert E., Jr. – Physics Teacher, 2018
When Yang-Hann Kim received the Rossing Prize in Acoustics Education at the 2015 meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, he stressed the importance of offering visual depictions of sound fields when teaching acoustics. Often visualization methods require specialized equipment such as microphone arrays or scanning apparatus. We present a…
Descriptors: Physics, Acoustics, Visualization, Telecommunications
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Levine, Zachary H. – Physics Teacher, 2018
An attempt to calibrate a conventional oven led to making a measurement of a thermophysical property of water using items found in the author's home. Specifically, the ratio of the energy required to heat water from the melting point to boiling to the energy required to completely boil away the water is found to be 5.7. This may be compared to the…
Descriptors: Thermodynamics, Heat, Water, Science Education
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Hart, Francis Xavier – Physics Teacher, 2018
We commonly ask students to compare the results of their experimental measurements with the predictions of a simple physical model that is well understood. However, in practice, physicists must compare their experimental measurements with the predictions of several models, none of which may work well over the entire range of measurements. The…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Physics, Magnets, Scientific Concepts
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Pili, Unofre; Violanda, Renante – Physics Teacher, 2018
The angular velocity of a spinning object is, by standard, measured using a device called a tachometer. However, by directly using it in a classroom setting, the activity is likely to appear as less instructive and less engaging. Indeed, some alternative classroom-suitable methods for measuring angular velocity have been presented. In this paper,…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Physics, Magnets, Measurement Techniques
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Ginsberg, Edw S. – Physics Teacher, 2018
The compatibility of the Newtonian formulation of mechanical energy and the transformation equations of Galilean relativity is demonstrated for three simple examples of motion treated in most introductory physics courses (free fall, a frictionless inclined plane, and a mass/spring system). Only elementary concepts and mathematics, accessible to…
Descriptors: Energy, Scientific Concepts, Physics, Motion
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Lincoln, James – Physics Teacher, 2018
The author has acquired a yellow laser with the specific wavelength of 589 nm. Because this is the first time such a laser has been discussed in this journal, I feel it is appropriate to provide a discussion of its function and capabilities. Normal laser safety should be employed, such as not pointing it into eyes or at people, and using eye…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, Lasers, Safety
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Polak, Robert D.; Davenport, Adam R. V.; Fischer, Andrew; Rafferty, Jared – Physics Teacher, 2018
Values for physical constants are commonly given as abstractions without building strong intuition, and are too often utilized solely in the pursuit of more easily conceptualized properties. The goal of this experiment is to remove the obscurity behind Young's modulus by exploring the phenomena associated with it--namely, the frequency of a…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, Measurement, Musical Instruments
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Ponnambalam, Michael – Physics Teacher, 2018
The laws of physics are often seen as objective truth, pure and simple. Hence, they tend to appear cerebral and cold. However, their presentation is necessarily subjective and may vary from being boring to being exciting. A detailed analysis of physics education reform efforts over the last three decades finds that interactive instruction results…
Descriptors: Emotional Response, Physics, Science Instruction, Educational Change
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Scherr, Rachel E.; Goertzen, Renee Michelle – Physics Teacher, 2018
"Periscope" is a set of lessons to support learning assistants, teaching assistants, and faculty in learning to notice and interpret classroom events the way an accomplished teacher does. "Periscope" lessons are centered on video episodes from a variety of best-practices university physics classrooms. By observing, discussing,…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Physics, Best Practices, Video Technology
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Jacobs, Greg C. – Physics Teacher, 2018
The Tasks Inspired by Physics Education Research (TIPERS) workbooks pose questions in styles quite different from the end-of-chapter problems that those of us of a certain age were assigned back in the days before Netscape. My own spin on TIPERS is not just to do them on paper, but to have students set up the situations in the laboratory to…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Education, Workbooks, Science Activities
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O'Shea, Michael J. – Physics Teacher, 2018
The backpack weight a hiker is capable of carrying depends on several factors. These include the hiker's weight, body mass index (BMI), fitness, and training. It can also depend on the terrain on which the hiker travels, e.g., off-trail or on-trail. However, online advice has tended to focus on the hiker's weight and suggests that pack weight…
Descriptors: Body Weight, Scientific Concepts, Science Instruction, Physics
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Riad, Ihab F. – Physics Teacher, 2018
Many physics departments around the world have electronic and mechanical workshops attached to them that can help build experimental setups and instruments for research and the training of undergraduate students. The workshops are usually run by experienced technicians and equipped with expensive lathing, computer numerical control (CNC) machines,…
Descriptors: Acoustics, Science Experiments, Physics, Science Instruction
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