aapt_program_final_sm13 - page 102

Wednesday morning
a pedagogical approach in which Calc-based General Physics students are
challenged and supported to explicitly implement a perspective of “going
to the physical situation” in developing both conceptual knowledge and
problem solving ability. This approach effectively engages a number of
physics learning challenges, such as moving beyond “plug and chug” and
moving to principle-based understanding. It also addresses student expec-
tations about the nature of science and physics, the nature of knowing, and
identity as physics learners. The chart frames discourse in the class.
PST2A05: 8:30-9:15 a.m. Graphical Analysis of a Free-Falling
Slinky through Viscous Media
Poster – Samuel Moore,* Santa Rosa Junior College, Physics, Santa Rosa,
CA 95401;
The slow motion video of the free fall of a vertically stretched Slinky in
air reveals two distinct motions. One would be the collapse of the Slinky
while the bottom portion remains motionless and then the free fall of the
collapsed Slinky. This surprising phenomena can also be observed when
Slinky is dropped in a viscous media, making it possible to conduct the
experiment live in the classroom without the need for use of a special
camera. Our graphical analysis reveals a collapse time of 0.3, 0.5, 8, 12 and
16 seconds for the fall of Slinky in: water, mineral oil, corn syrup, shampoo
and liquid soap, respectively. The stretched portion of the Slinky was mea-
sured to be approximately 30 cm.
*Sponsored by Younes Ataiiyan
PST2A06: 9:15-10 a.m. Historical Development of Science in a
Course for Non-science Students
Poster – Scott W. Bonham, Western Kentucky University, 1906 College
Heights Blvd., Bowling Green, KY 42101-1077;
A major general education goal is understanding of the nature and process
of science. My course Light, Color, and Vision addresses it using both
hands-on experimental work and reading/discussion of the historical
development of ideas about light, color, and vision from antiquity to
modern day. Students read about different important figures: Empedocles
and Aristotle, Alhazan, Christiaan Huygens, Isaac Newton, Augustin-Jean
Fresnel, Albert Michelson, James Clerk Maxwell, and Albert Einstein. They
also read accessible writings by three of these figures which illustrate differ-
ent stages in the development of science. A selection from Aristotle’s Sense
and the Sensible is an early attempt at systematic explanation of vision and
color. Newton’s “A New Theory about Light and Colors,” represents early
scientific communication, and Maxwell’s “On the Theory of Colours in
relation to Colour-Blindness,” is structured much like modern scientific
papers. Combined, these help students better understand the processes and
nature of science.
PST2A07: 8:30-9:15 a.m. Modeling Matter as Soliton Waves
Poster – Robert A. Close, Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancou-
ver, WA 98663;
Quantum mechanics is typically taught as a statistical theory with no
classical analogue. However, many scientists have investigated classical
analogues which yield some aspects of quantum behavior. Nineteenth-
century scientists modeled the universe as an elastic solid “aether” in order
to understand light waves. We describe how this simple model can also
be used to teach topics such as special relativity, atomic spectra, Dirac
wave functions, quantum operators, electromagnetic potentials, quantum
statistics, antimatter, and gravity. This approach can serve as simply a good
analogy for non-majors, or as an introduction to the mathematics of mod-
ern physics for physics majors.
PST2A08: 9:15-10 a.m. Teaching Physics-related Social Topics
within General Physics Courses
Poster – Art Hobson, University of Arkansas, Department of Physics, Fayette-
ville, AR 72701;
Physics-related social topics can add relevance, human interest, con-
temporary appeal and, most importantly, significant knowledge to your
introductory high school or college physics course. This poster features
many societal topics discussed in my conceptual physics textbook for non-
science college students, “Physics: Concepts & Connections” (Pearson/
Addison-Wesley, 5th edition 2010): global warming, ozone depletion,
transportation, risk assessment, biological effects of radioactivity, steam-
electric power, fossil fuels, nuclear power, renewable energy, exponential
growth, population explosion, energy efficiency, pseudoscience, nuclear
weapons, the energy future, and the scientific process. There is also a seg-
ment about how to deal with controversial topics.
PST2A09: 8:30-9:15 a.m. Times of Descent Along Tracks of
Various Shapes
Poster – Carl E. Mungan, U.S. Naval Academy, Physics Mailstop 9c,
Annapolis, MD 21402;
Trevor C. Lipscombe, Catholic University of America Press
The frictionless track of fastest descent between two arbitrary points in a
vertical plane is cycloidal. If instead the track is straight, the descent time
along it will be longer by some amount. The straight track lies everywhere
above the cycloidal track. Intuitively, there must be another track that
lies everywhere below the cycloidal track that also takes more time by
the same increase. That is, cars started together on the straight track and
on this new track will reach the finish line in a tie. What is the shape of
this new track? [See C.E. Mungan and T.C. Lipscombe, “Complementary
Curves of Descent,”
Eur. J. Phys
, 59-65 (2013).]
PST2A10: 9:15-10 a.m. Using Plumbdads-Quarkles to Examine
Student Understanding of Scientific Practice
Poster – Timothy Grove, IPFW, 2101 E. Coliseum Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN
Many of my colleagues have lamented students’ inability to examine,
analyze, and gain meaning from measured data. To open a discussion with
students as well as to examine student thinking, a hypothetical set of data
was given to students relating the fictional quantities of plumbdads and
quarkles. These two quantities were used rather than physically observ-
able parameters so that students could not “gain insight” through Internet
searches (Wikipedia, Google search, etc.) or through the index of a book.
The developed exercise asks students a series of questions regarding the
“collected data” and two researchers’ opinions about the same data. All of
the questions have generally agreed upon answers (at least to scientists),
but students starting a physics course often have their own ideas.
A – PER: Lecture/Classroom
PST2A11: 8:30-9:15 a.m. Breaking Expectations: International
Female Student Performance in Calculus-based
Mechanics Course
Poster – Rebecca Lindell, Purdue University, 525 Northwestern Ave., West
Lafayette, IN 47907-2036;
Jignesh Mehta, Andrew Hirsch, Purdue University
Purdue University has the second largest international student enrollment
in the country, which translated to nearly 40% self-reported interna-
tional students in our fall 2012 calculus-based introductory mechanics
course. Surprisingly, both international and domestic populations have
25% female students. Contrary to expectations, preliminary examina-
tion of student exams scores show that the international female students
were the highest performing students in our introductory calculus-based
mechanics course. An obvious conclusion is that the international female
population are simply better prepared for the course, except that analysis
of pre-test results of the Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning show no
difference between the populations. In this poster we present a further
investigation of these results.
PST2A12: 9:15-10 a.m. Evaluation of a Reformed Engineering
Mechanics Course at Purdue University
Poster – Andrew Hirsch, Purdue University, 525 Northwestern Ave., West
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