NS 541/SC 541 Concepts in Physics II: Rotation and Gravitation

Physics content: The universal law of gravitation, uniform circular motion, rotational motion.

Philosophy and History of Physics: Historical development of the experimental method.

Physics Education Research: Introduction to novice and expert problem-solving strategies, concept-mapping for physics, and misconceptions about gravity.

Course Schedule (.pdf)

Course Link

NS 541 Concepts in Physics II: Rotation and Gravitation

In-Class: Session 1: Uniform circular motion

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 5.1 – 5.4, 5.8
Activities: Circular motion worksheets

Online: Session 2: Vertical circular motion

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: Section 5.7
Activities: Worksheets to go with the material posted on the course web site

Assignments due at session 3:

Worksheets for the at-home session (session 2)
WebAssign: Assignment 1

Reading:

  • Descartes, Principles of Philosophy. Selection from Matthews, Propositions 36 – 40, 64, 204.

  • Newton, Principia, pages 1 – 12, 37 – 38 and Laws of Reasoning (from Shamos (Handout), or from Shamos pages 42 – 58.

In-Class: Session 3: Gravitation; Superposition of Forces

Philosophy/History/Education Research:
Overview: Understanding the heliocentric model and its consequences for the development of modern Physics
Newton’s account of centripetal forces

Online: Session 4: Field, Potential Energy, and Kepler’s Laws

Activities: Worksheets to go with the material posted on the course web site

Reading:

  • Novak, J. & Gowin, B. (1995). Learning how to learn. (pp. 14 – 34).

  • Descartes, Principles of Philosophy. Part III, Propositions 46 – 102; Part IV, Propositions 1 – 31.

Assignments due at session 5:

Worksheets for the at-home session (session 4)
WebAssign: Assignment 2

In-Class: Session 5: Rotational Kinematics, Torque

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: Chapter 8

Online: Session 6: Torque and Rotational Inertia

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 9.1, 9.7
Activities: Worksheets to go with the material posted on the course web site

Reading:

  • Wolfson, Richard. (2003) Chapter 14 from Simply Einstein.

Assignments due at session 7:

            Worksheets for the at-home session (session 6)
WebAssign: Assignment 3

In-Class: Session 7: Static Equilibrium

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 9.2 – 9.3

Test 1: One hour (covers sessions 1 – 6).

Online: Session 8: Newton’s Second Law for Rotation

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 9.2, 9.3
Activities: Philosophy/History/Education Activity: Understanding and discussing ‘action at a  distance.’ Exploring and comparing models from Aristotle to Newton of curved motion and inertial frame through group concept-mapping.

Assignments due at session 9:

Worksheets for the at-home session (session 8)
WebAssign: Assignment 4

In-Class: Session 9: Rolling

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 8.6

Online: Session 10: Rotational Dynamics

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: Section 9.4

Reading:

  • Scherr, R.E. & Redish, E.F. (2005) Newton's Zeroth Law: Learning from Listening to Our Students. Phys. Teach. 43, 41-45

  • Palmer, D. (2001). Students’ alternative conceptions and scientifically acceptable conceptions about gravity. International Journal of Science Education 23, 691-706.

Activities: Worksheets to go with the material posted on the course web site

Assignments due at session 11:
Worksheets for the at-home session (session 10)
WebAssign: Assignment 5

In-Class: Session 11: Rotational Kinetic Energy and Angular Momentum

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 9.5 and 9.6
Lab activity: Conservation of Angular Momentum
Jigsaw discussion of education research papers.

Test 2, a take-home test, handed out (covers sessions 8 – 12)

Online: Session 12: Rotational Kinetic Energy and Angular Momentum

Sections from Cutnell & Johnson: 9.5 and 9.6

Assignments due at session 13:
Worksheets for the at-home session (session 12)
Test 3: take-home test.
Project presentations
Written report on your project

In-Class: Session 13: Presentations

Science Education Research Activity: Project presentations.
Course evaluations.

Bibliography

Selections from primary sources

Copernicus, N. (1989). The commentariolus. & Dedication of the revolutions of the heavenly spheres. In Matthews, M. (Ed.) The scientific background to modern philosophy. Selected readings. (pp 36 –44). Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co.

Newton, I. (2002). Principia. (pp. 1-11). Philadelphia: Running Press.

Cavendish, H. (1959). The law of gravitation. In Shamos (Ed.) Great experiments in physics. (pp. 75 – 92). New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Selections from secondary sources

Hesse, Mary. (1978) Action at a distance. In McMullin, E. (Ed.) The concept of matter in modern philosophy. (pp. 119-125). Notre Dame: Notre Dame Univ. Press.

Selections from Physics and Science Education Research Literature

Novak, J. & Gowin, B. (1995). Learning how to learn. (pp. 14 – 34). New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

Scherr, R.E. & Redish, E.F. (2005) Newton's Zeroth Law: Learning from Listening to Our Students. Phys. Teach. 43, 41-45.

Trumper, R. (1996). Teaching about energy through a spiral curriculum: guiding principles. Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 12, 66 –75.