Before I forget, I want to make some comments about my courses this semester.
Physics for Education Majors (PHYS 142)
I love this class. It’s one of my favorites. Just in case you aren’t familiar, it’s a course designed for elementary education majors (you could probably guess that from the title). We are using Next GEN Physics and Everyday Thinking (Next GEN PET). Oh—it’s awesome. Seriously, you should try this curriculum.
So, this semester things are going great so far. I normally teach this every semester, but last semester my section was cancelled. Apparently some particular college decided not to make this a required course (even though I made this course 12 years ago to satisfy their accreditation requirements). But by not teaching it last semester, I realize how much I enjoy it.
Oh sure, this semester it has much fewer students. However, I can have actual conversations with them as they work on the material. Also, the students have time to work on stuff. In the first unit they are building models of magnetism. It takes time to properly magnetize a nail. It’s slow process. I think more learning needs to take this slow process.
Special Topics: Numerical Calculations
Oh wait. This course was canceled. Damn.
Physical Science (PHSC 101)
I taught this class last semester. It went well enough.
This semester is a little different. Well, just one small difference. Instead of a large lecture class with desks and stuff, it’s a smaller room with tables. Here—take a look at this picture.
Surprisingly, this makes a HUGE difference. Now students can very easily have short discussion with other students. It makes a big difference. I like this room so far.
Intro Physics Lab 2 – Algebra-Based (PLAB 194)
I can’t just leave a lab alone. No, I have to change it every time I teach it. This semester, I want to focus more on building circuits. So far, they have only done the electric field mapping experiment. It seemed to be not too bad.
I don’t have anything else to see.
Intro Physics Lab 1 – Calc-Based (PLAB 223)
I picked this lab up at the last moment (because of the other canceled course)—so, I really didn’t get a chance to prepare ahead of time.
It’s a 3 hour lab (unlike the 2-hour algebra-based lab), so that’s kind of cool. My plan is to really focus on model building (with tons of python). It’s gonna be great. I hope.
Oh, even advanced students have problems making linear graphs.
That’s enough for now. I’ll keep you updated.