Best Practice High School

CONCEPTUAL PHYSICS FOR FRESHMAN

Introduction

 

Course Code: 33310 (1st & 2nd Semester)

Instructor: Arthur D. Griffin

Lecture Room: 313 (a)

Lab Room: 313 (b)

Office & Store Room: 313 (c)

Course Meeting Times:40 Weeks Mon, Tues, Thurs & Fri (2-7 Periods)

Office Phone: (773) 534-7610 Ext# 153

 

Course Description: The study of physics is a process, a process based upon questioning, probing, modeling & testing. This process forms the backbone of the study of physics here at Best Practice High School Conceptual Physics is the first in a three year sequence which reverses the typical high school arrangement of science classes. The choice to rearrange the sequence comes from a philosophy of presenting science in a logical arrangement and to show how all science is interrelated. This course stresses the ideas of physics rather than the mathematical techniques of solving physics problems. It serves as a conceptual basis for science and non-science oriented students. It encourages both groups to view nature more perceptively. For the science-oriented student, it serves as well as a springboard to a greater involvement in physics. In this course we will study concepts such as motion, force, energy, matter, and a variety of physical laws that describe these. The course will involve no mathematical manipulations beyond the typical first year algebra class and some vector addition.

Text: Conceptual Physics - Paul Hewitt's text offers the student a conceptually rigorous and challenging reading. Many of the questions and exercises require careful consideration. This course is not an attempted to finish the book, however we search for those units of study which best prepares our student for the second year science course (chemistry)

Journals & Lab Reports: Each student will be assigned into groups of 3 & also 6. The groups will be shuffled 6-7 times during the two semesters. Group members will work with their team members on their lab entries and write short lab reports. The lab reports entries, responses and notes should consist of informal writing. Students should present whatever thoughts are stimulated by the material, discussing aspects that strike them as interesting, incomprehensible, sublime or even absurd. At the end of each unit, students can include class lecture and discussions notes as a means of comparing their preconceived ideas to their discoveries in the labs.

Quizzes and Exams: The exams will follow one week after the unit due date. The quizzes are less formal and will be given during the unit after lectures or after worksheet presentations.

White boards: This exercise allows students to group into six. Each group will discuss and prepare a white board presentation showing how they problem-solved. After the presentation, the entire class will be given opportunities to raise questions about how the groups reach their conclusions.

Science Fair: The intent of a fair is to help the student enjoy the process of science discovery. Success is defined by how well a student uses investigative thinking skills to discover more about his or her world. What better opportunity for our students to develop such skills than to participate in a science fair. The thinking skills a student develops while doing a science fair project are the same basic skills he or she will use daily throughout his or her life to sense and clarify problems that exist, and to find creative solutions to those problems. Science Fair will begin during second quarter, and will culminate in a school fair during the last two weeks in January.

Fermilab Arise Project: The Department of Education at Fermilab Particle Accelerator in Batavia, Illinois received a grant from the Illinois State Board of Education to conduct a four year pilot program at Fermilab with seven high school teams from around the state to develop a curriculum framework and implement a three-year coherent high school sequence based on state and national standards. The curriculum integrates and presents content so that an adequate knowledge base is established to support new investigations and develop scientific explanations. Students will be asked to participate in several base line test and basic mechanics national exam.

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Program Contact: Arthur Griffin
Web Maintainer: ed-webmaster@fnal.gov
Last Update: August 24, 2001
http://www-ed.fnal.gov/arise/schools/best_practice/concep_intro.html