Tag «critical thinking»

Conceptual Understanding in Introductory Physics XXVII: Mass and Charge

This question is inspired by my recent ramblings on electric charge and by the elements of thought in the Paul/Elder critical thinking framework. (a) In first semester physics, you learned that mass is necessary to calculate the gravitational force shared by two interacting entities. What are the physical implications of mass always being positive? (b) …

Learning Critical Thinking Through Astronomy, Week 7

The week began with my expectation that students had watched a YouTube clip showing an excerpt from Carl Sagan’s COSMOS series in which Sagan explains Eratosthenes’ work with shadows. Students don’t realize it yet, but this topic is the culmination of all of the previous activities. It’s the reason for the critical thinking activities. It’s …

Learning Critical Thinking Through Astronomy, Week 5

I originally had one set of plans for this week but as sometimes happens, those plans changed radically. Instead of starting in on the next series of activities, we spent some time doing some formative assessment (and I’m really beginning to hate the word “assessment” because of the current political climate in which it’s (mis)used …

Learning Critical Thinking Through Astronomy, Week 4

This week, we wrapped up the first series of seven activities. Students were expected to have completed Activity0105 outside of classs last week (even though I know many did not) and Activity0103 outside of class this week. Class time was devoted to questions raised by those two activities (if there were any, and there were …

Learning Critical Thinking Through Astronomy, Week 3

This week, we dived into Activity0102, which introduces two huge concepts. The first is that there are different types of knowledge and therefore also different types of questions. Students are presented with a group of questions, let’s call them Group 1 Questions, and are asked to decide what they have in common. I’ve used this …

Learning Critical Thinking Through Astronomy, Week 2

I’m a few days late with this post. It applies to last week. We began the activities in earnest this week. Activities are named as ActivityCCNN where CC is a two digit chapter number (there are five chapters in the course) and NN is a two digit activity number. Chapter 01 is critical thinking and …

Matter & Interactions I, Week 1

This is the first post of a series of sixteen in which I will attempt to describe the weekly goings on in my introductory calculus-based physics course. You probably already know that I use Matter & Interactions for this course, and I have since 1999. In fact, I was the first instructor in North Carolina …

Learning Critical Thinking Through Astronomy, Week 1

This is the first post of a series of sixteen in which I will attempt to describe the weekly goings on in my introductory astronomy course. As many of you already know, I don’t use a traditional textbook and, instead, use my own activities based on the critical thinking model of Richard Paul and Linda …

Conceptual Understanding in Introductory Physics XXV: A Free Particle?

This question emphasizes geometry and should be done without use of a coordinate system. It should also be done using only symbolic manipulation of vectors. Here it is. Consider a particle moving with a constant, non-relativistic velocity. Starting with a general expression for kinetic energy in terms of either velocity or momentum, prove that the …

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