Interactive Physics Player Workbook, Hybrid WIN/MAC Version (2nd Edition)

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9780130671080: Interactive Physics Player Workbook, Hybrid WIN/MAC Version (2nd Edition)
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This interactive workbook and CD-ROM package is designed to help users visualize and work with specific physics problems through simulations created with Interactive Physics files. Forty problems of varying degrees of difficulty require learners to make predictions, change variables, run, and visualize motion on the computer. The accompanying workbook/study guide provides instructions, physics review, hints, and questions. The accompanying CD-ROM contains everything needed to run the simulations.

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About the Author:

Dr. Cindy Schwarz is currently Associate Professor of Physics at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. She majored in physics and mathematics at S.U.N.Y. Binghamton, graduating in 1980. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University in 1985 for her work to experimental particle physics. She has written two other books A Tour of the Subatomic Zoo: A Guide to Particle Physics (Springer-Verlag) and Tales from the Subatomic Zoo (self-published at www.smallworldbooks.net) and a multimedia CD-ROM Interactive Journey through Physics (Prentice Hall). She is a member of the American Physical Society (APS), the American Association of Physics Teachers (RAPT), and is a member of the Undergraduates Texts in Contemporary Physics (UTCP) Editorial Board for Springer-Verlag. Cindy and John first collaborated at AAPT national meetings, giving workshops on beginning through advanced level Interactive Physics™. Cindy has received two grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for work in curriculum development using technology to aid in the teaching of physics. Most recently, she was awarded a grant in the NSF Course Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program for development of a course for non-majors using digital video and analysis software to teach and assist in the learning of physics. Cindy is married and lives in Staatsburg New York with her husband Norman Rachmilowitz, her sons Michael and Bryan, and their dog Kellie.

Dr. John Ertel is Associate Professor of Physics at the Unites States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. He received his BS in 1966 and his MS in 1968 from Emory University for his theoretical work describing the angular correlation of alpha particles emitted in the spontaneous fission of Californium-252. In the summer of 1968, John went on active duty with the Marine Corps where he served as a pilot. While still in the Marines, he started part-time work on his Ph.D. After exiting active duty service, John was invited to return to the Academy as an Assistant Professor while continuing work towards the doctorate. In 1983, Professor Ertel received his Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. for his work in theoretical electron scattering. He then returned as a faculty member of the Physics Department of the U.S. Naval Academy where he has remained since that time. Since the debut of Interactive Physics in the late 1980's, Professor Ertel has given workshops on the simulation software at over twenty meetings of the American Association of Physics Teachers as well as numerous colleges and universities. In the summer of 1997, Dr. Schwarz added her expertise to these long running workshop presentations. Dr. Ertel is an active member of APS, Acoustical Society of America (ASA), and RAPT and is a member of the UTCP Editorial Board for Springer-Verlag. In his local community, he is currently the Governor's Select Appointee to the Board of Trustees, Maryland School for the Deaf. John is also very active in the Boy Scouts of America. He lives in Annapolis with his wife, Patricia Burt, and their dogs Maggie and Cinders.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Author Comments on the First Edition

Motion is what much of physics is about. We have equations that we can solve for velocity, acceleration, energy, and more. We can think about the motion, analyze it, and try to understand it, but until very recently we could not "see" it demonstrated so clearly on the computer. Traditional physics courses consist of lectures where concepts are introduced by the professor, equations are derived, and example problems are solved for the student. I am a product of that traditional course myself. In 1976, my freshman year in college, I took introductory physics. I sat way in the back of the very large lecture hall, listening passively to the professor describe the motion of a projectile, wondering what it looked like. So, naturally, in 1985, my first year teaching at Vassar, I stood in front of 40 students trying to explain the motion of a block attached to a spring on a frictionless surface. I drew vectors for acceleration and velocity at representative times on the blackboard. Snapshots you might call them, but it was static, it was not moving, and motion was what I was trying to explain.

Fortunately, many courses are now changing to incorporate new techniques including cooperative learning, more hands-on experiences, and the use of computers. The computer is being used in many schools for data collection and analysis, and running simulation software. Interactive Physics (EP), first introduced in 1989, is now one of the best simulation programs around, adding a new dimension to the way physics is taught and offering a place for students (and teachers) to explore motion in ways they never could before. In 1989 I made my first attempts at using Interactive Physics for demonstrations in the classroom. We looked at a ball launched into the air and its subsequent motion. My students and I could see the motion and see the velocity vector of the ball. We played "what if' games. We changed the angle that the ball was launched with and saw how the trajectory of the ball changed. We asked ourselves, "Will it go higher if the ball weighed more?" "What is the velocity of the ball at the top of the flight?" "Which will go farther, a steel ball or a Ping-Pong ball?" We got answers to all those questions. This was certainly a step in the right direction.

I continued to use Interactive Physics with my students, although I started getting them involved in designing their own simulations. This was useful, but time-consuming. Meanwhile, some of the publishers (and authors) of introductory physics texts were also realizing that Interactive Physics could be very useful. Several texts now have end-of-chapter problems correlated with Interactive Physics simulation flies. This I also felt was a step in the right direction, but it was sort of backward. The problems were being "translated" into Interactive Physics. It was good to be able to visualize the motion for these problems, but some of the best features of Interactive Physics were not being fully exploited. So, in 1994, as I wrote this book, I tried to find the best ways to use the technology. I tried to cover the major areas in mechanics and address what I know to be (from 10 years of teaching) some of the most common student misconceptions. Now you can make the objects collide and stick together or collide and bounce apart, you can see the motion, simple or complex. You can play "what if' games and get answers to your questions.

This workbook is intended to be a supplement to any algebra- or calculus-based introductory physics textbook (HS or College Level). It is an interactive workbook, designed exclusively to be used with the simulations that I created using Interactive Physics. I know that this workbook and the 40 simulation files that go with it will help you to understand physics better. I hope that it will also be fun. It has now been almost 20 years since I sat in that lecture hall in my introductory physics course at S.U.N.Y. Binghamton. Many things have changed. We used computers rarely and only for writing programs on mainframe machines. We did not have computers in our introductory physics labs, our classrooms, our dormitories, or our homes. We did not have the technology to visualize the motion. We saw films, we tried to see things, but we were limited. You are not. Take advantage of the window that Interactive Physics and this workbook gives you and look through to see, explore, and understand motion and physics better than ever.

Cindy Schwarz 1996

Author Comments on the Second Edition

The preface to the first edition opens with the wonderfully simple statement "Motion is what much of physics is about." Following the lead of this statement, in the following paragraphs, I would like to describe the typical uses for which we at the Naval Academy have found Interactive Physics to be an invaluable pedagogical aid to learning and understanding for my students (and sometimes, myself).

Classroom Use of IP-Stage-I (Baiting the Hook)
In the fall term of introductory physics, most of our classes concentrate on the area of Mechanics. At the very beginning of the term, EP is introduced by modeling the simplest of kinematic problems in class before the students. By using IP right from the start, we allow/force the student to visualize the motion associated with what may seem to them to be very dry algebraic or calculus equations. In each problem attempted in class, the student is shown:

  • how easy it is to "program a simulation" of that motion using the syntax of IP. Translated to common language, this means you draw a picture of the experiment using the graphical user interface of IP and the simulation is ready to run.
  • how closely the numbers extracted from "the motion simulated in IP" matches their own calculations or those done by their teacher or in their text
  • when their calculations differ from the motion we simulated in IP, that the motion they see in IP makes more physical sense and is therefore more likely to be correct
  • when their own calculations differ from the motion we simulated in IP, how they may use the simulation to find errors in their calculations

In this first stage we guide the students toward their "I believe button" and start building their confidence both in IP and in the proper mathematical description of mechanical processes.

Classroom Use of IP-Stage-II (Setting the Hook)
After a very short period of time (sometimes almost immediately); the student begins to ask questions like "What happens to the motion if you increase the value of 'this' or decrease the value of 'that'?" Once you get to this point with any portion of the class, the effect tends to snowball dragging the Test along. Here I find the first use of "small problem-solving groups" of three or four interacting among themselves and determining how they think the motion in an experiment will change when certain parameters are varied. This leads very naturally to cross-group discussion about why their particular group answer makes more sense than other groups, which immediately leads to the almost demanding question "Could you change the acceleration or some other variable so we can see what actually happens?" Now you almost have their complete and voluntary attention!

Classroom Use of IP—Stage-II (Setting the Hook)
After a very short period of time (sometimes almost immediately), the student begins to ask questions like "What happens to the motion if you increase the value of 'this' or decrease the value of 'that'?" Once you get to this point with any portion of the class, the effect tends to snowball dragging the-rest along. Here I find the first use of "small problem-solving groups" of three or four interacting among themselves and determining how they think the motion in an experiment will change when certain parameters are varied. This leads very naturally to cross-group discussion about why their particular group answer makes more sense than other groups, which immediately leads to the almost demanding question "Could you change the acceleration or some other variable so we can see what actually happens?" Now you almost have their complete and voluntary attention!

Classroom Use of IP—Stage-III (Reeling Them IN)
In the last classroom stage, as their homework may seem to them to grow in complexity, we can offer them the opportunity to "play with the software" and write their own IP simulations on our departmental computers.

Laboratory Use of IP—(Preparing and Enjoying the Feast)
As a capstone to this evolution towards "guided discovery", once the student becomes familiar with using IP as a partner in the study of motion, before each scheduled laboratory, we allow them to simulate each and every experiment using the IP simulation environment on our laboratory workstations. The importance of using "real world" values for parameters in these simulations cannot be over emphasized. As an example, if you are studying Hooke's Law and Spring-Mass Oscillations using one of the large conical brass springs that are commercially available, then use a spring constant of about 10 N/m in the IP simulation of the motion, and the visualization they will see will seem all the more real. By the way, the student that does a good job of taking data will notice that their experimental values and those from the IP simulation will slightly disagree-as if the mass value put into IP should be increased. Well, this can be immediate evidence to the student that the mass of the spring is actually an integral part of the kinematics of the motion, since at least part of the spring is moving as well.

In closing the preface to the first edition, Cindy wrote "This workbook is intended to be a supplement to any algebra- or calculus-based introductory physics textbook (HS or College Level). It is an interactive workbook . . . Take advantage of the...

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