NS 549/SC 549 Everyday Applications of Physics

Physics content: Physics of everyday life. In-detail examination of real-world applications.

Philosophy and History of Physics: Challenging the commonsensical understanding of physics through epistemology.

Physics Education Research: Exploration of effective techniques for designing physics projects.

Course Schedule (.pdf)

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NS 549 Everyday Applications of Physics

Course Schedule

N.B.: The schedule below has not yet been adapted to the blended schedule of online and in-class meetings. Course readings may vary between course offerings.

Session 1: Seesaws.
Review of rotational inertia, torque, angular velocity, angular acceleration, Newton's first and second laws of rotation, center of mass, and levers.
      Readings from Chapter 2 of How Things Work
      Assignment: Selected questions from chapter 2
Reading assignment for next Friday:

  • De Boer, G. (1991). Process and product in science education. In A history of ideas in science education. Implications for practice. (pp. 190 – 214). New York: Teachers College Press.

Session 2: Carousels and Roller Coasters.
             Review of uniform circular motion and centripetal acceleration.
      Readings from Chapter 3 of How Things Work
Philosophy/History/Education Research: Overview of the recent history of ideas on science teaching and learning methods.
Assignment: Selected questions from chapter 3
     
Session 3: Bicycles
             Review of unstable equilibrium, static and dynamic stability, and precession)
      Readings from Chapter 4 of How Things Work
      Assignment: Selected questions from chapter 4
      Reading assignment for next Friday:

  • Novak, J. (1979). The reception learning paradigm. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 16, 481 – 488.
  • Kaufmann, B. (1971). Psychological implications of learning science. Science Education, 55, 73 – 83.

Session 4: Rockets and Space Travel
             Review of reaction forces, Newton's law of gravitation, elliptical orbits, Kepler’s laws, special and general relativity, and the equivalence principle.
      Readings from Chapter 4 of How Things Work
Philosophy/History/Education Research: Controversies on inquired-based learning vs. non-inquiry based learning. I
      Assignment: Selected questions from chapter 4
           
Session 5: Airplanes
             Review of streamlining, lifting wing, angle of attack, induced drag, stalled wing, and thrust.
      Readings from Chapter 6 of How Things Work
      Assignment: Selected questions from chapter 6
      Reading assignment for next Friday:

  • Babikian, Y. (1971). An empirical investigation to determine the relative effectiveness of discovery, laboratory and expository methods of teaching science concepts. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 8, 201 – 209.
  • Spears, B. & Zollman, D. (1977). The influence of structured versus unstructured laboratory on students’ understanding the process of science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 14, 33 – 38.

 

Session 6: Air Conditioners
Review of the laws of thermodynamics, temperature, heat, entropy, heat pumps and thermodynamic efficiency
      Readings from Chapter 8 of How Things Work
Philosophy/History/Education Research: Controversies on inquired-based learning vs. non-inquiry based learning II: examining experimental data      
Assignment: Selected questions from chapter 8

Session 7: Automobiles.
            Review of heat engines and thermodynamic efficiency.
      Readings from Chapter 8 of How Things Work
      Assignment: Selected questions from chapter 8
            Reading assignment for next Friday:

  • Kuhn, T. (2000). On learning physics. Science and Education, 9(1-2), 1 –10.
  • Andersen, H. Learning by ostension: Thomas Kuhn on science education. Science and Education, 9(1-2), 91 –106.

Session 8: Clocks
             Review of time and space, natural resonance, harmonic oscillators, simple harmonic motion, frequency.
      Readings from Chapter 9 of How Things Work
      Philosophy/History/Education Research: Kuhn on learning physics.
Assignment: Selected questions from chapter 9

Session 9: Xerographic copiers.
Review of electric fields and voltage gradients, relationships between shape and field, discharges, electric current, direction of current flow, charging by induction.
      Readings from Chapter 10 of How Things Work
      Assignment: Selected questions from chapter 10

Session 10: Project Presentations.

Session 11: Project Presentations.
           
Session 12: Project Presentations.

Session 13: Final Examination.

Bibliography

Selections from Science Education Research Literature

De Boer, G. (1991). Process and product in science education. In A history of ideas in science education. Implications for practice. (pp. 190 – 214). New York: Teachers College Press.

Novak, J. (1979). The reception learning paradigm. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 16, 481 – 488.
Kaufmann, B. (1971). Psychological implications of learning science. Science Education, 55, 73 – 83.
Kuhn, T. (2000). On learning physics. Science and Education, 9(1-2), 1 –10.
Andersen, H. Learning by ostension: Thomas Kuhn on science education. Science and Education, 9(1-2), 91 –106.
Babikian, Y. (1971). An empirical investigation to determine the relative effectiveness of discovery, laboratory and expository methods of teaching science concepts. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 8, 201 – 209.
Spears, B. & Zollman, D. (1977). The influence of structured versus unstructured laboratory on students’ understanding the process of science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 14, 33 – 38