Questions tagged [physical-sciences]

For questions about teaching and motivating students who are engaged in studying the physical sciences, namely biology, chemistry, and physics.

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12 answers
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How to explain that we live in a three-dimensional world?

How does one explain, clearly and simply, that we live in a three-dimensional world? The explanation has to be understandable for a twelve year old child.
Ortomala Lokni's user avatar
19 votes
5 answers
2k views

Physical applications of higher terms of Taylor series

Depressingly many of the physical "applications" of Taylor series that I can find in textbooks and online are actually just applications of linear approximation, since they only take the constant and ...
Mike Shulman's user avatar
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15 votes
3 answers
817 views

Does education research support the idea that answer keys are bad?

I am a physics grad student and several of my professors have stated that they are against the idea of posting answer keys (i.e., worked solutions) for homework and/or tests (after the assignment has ...
WillG's user avatar
  • 281
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

What are some activities/projects I can assign to calculus students from bio/chem/physics majors to specifically motivate their interest?

(This question was proposed during the area51 phase.) It's common for chemistry/biology/physics majors to be required to take certain calculus courses. At my school, chem/bio students must take up ...
Brendan W. Sullivan's user avatar
10 votes
4 answers
1k views

Co-curricular lessons between geometry and chemistry?

My school is hyped about the promise of co-curricular education and they are giving the math and science teachers paid days off to develop lesson plans that synergize our learning goals. I'm on ...
Matthew Daly's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
327 views

Analogies or explanations for duality, at the college sophomore level

This semester I taught the third semester of my college's freshman physics sequence. Nearly all the students are engineering majors. Compared to previous semesters when I've taught this course, I went ...
user avatar
10 votes
0 answers
123 views

Literature on student understanding of assumptions

In a discussion with a physics lecturer he mentioned that one major area where students fail is understanding assumptions - for example, if we are interested in two objects hitting each other and then ...
Tommi's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
924 views

What are the mathematical prerequisites to quantum mechanics?

Which topics - what skillset in mathematics need the students to possess to be able to proceed with learning quantum mechanics without hitches like need for explaining notation or understanding the ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 193
9 votes
5 answers
2k views

Applications of Calculus 2 to Physics

I'm teaching a section of Calculus 2 (integration techniques, arc length, surface area, improper integrals, parametric & polar functions, sequences, and series ) next semester and would like to ...
user1576's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
665 views

Elementary physics course for pure math student

Are there any mathematical departments which present the course "elementary physics" for pure math undergraduate students, separately? Is there a way to present this course with the most pure ...
Ali Taghavi's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
225 views

Scientific results on the usefulness of physical units in secondary education?

When we encounter "real world problems" in math, one can chose different levels of detail with regard to units: from leaving them out completely up to using them everywhere. I'd argue that both ...
Jasper's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
1k views

A Question about Theodore Frankel's "The Geometry of Physics"

Locked up in my self-distancing isolation in NYC, I'm reminded of how much I really like Frankel's book, which contains a wealth of beautiful geometry and topology from the standpoint of a ...
The Mathemagician's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
678 views

Structure of math textbooks

Math textbooks for undergraduate and graduate students are almost always structured in the same way. Each chapter/section/etc. has it's definitions, theorems, propositions, etc. with proofs following ...
Sito's user avatar
  • 179
7 votes
4 answers
3k views

Physics in Linear Algebra

Talking about physical phenomena related to a particular field of mathematics can be interesting for students and might further motivate their study of the subject. For instance, there are ...
user avatar
7 votes
0 answers
169 views

How to recognize possible dyscalculia in a student?

I am looking for input/advice regarding whether a student I just began tutoring may have dyscalculia - and, if so, how to go about broaching the subject / assisting them as best as possible. I'd ...
bingus's user avatar
  • 71
6 votes
4 answers
350 views

What science books would you recommend a curious middle school student to read at home?

OK, this is not exactly a Math Education question, but in lieu of a functioning Science Education site and because in middle schools Math and Science are often taught by the same teachers, I'll ask ...
Michael's user avatar
  • 161
6 votes
1 answer
116 views

What are the fundamentals of writing practice questions for early teen students?

I have to write some practice questions, or toy problems for some students in the age range 11 to 14. This is for a workshop I will be running. The students are encouraged to work on these questions ...
Clumsy cat's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
4k views

Examples of real-life vector fields for vector calculus

My two main ones are Electrostatic force field $\mathbf{E}\left(\mathbf{r}\right)=\frac{Q}{4\pi\epsilon_0 \left|\left|\mathbf{r}\right|\right|^3}\mathbf{r}$ and Gravitational force field, $\mathbf{F}\...
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4 votes
7 answers
18k views

Best way to memorize the conversion between m/s and km/h

If you want to convert for example $2\,\mathrm{\frac{m}{s}}$ to $\mathrm{\frac{km}{h}}$ you have just to multiply it by $3.6$ and get $2\,\mathrm{\frac{m}{s}} = 7.2\,\mathrm{\frac{km}{h}}$. ...
Julia's user avatar
  • 834
3 votes
0 answers
61 views

Are there any fun toy applications of representation and character theory for finite groups to physics?

Representation theory has very deep ties with physics, leading to incredibly profound and admittedly cool results such as the classification of particles in the Standard Model via mass and spin by ...
Labba's user avatar
  • 131
2 votes
3 answers
140 views

How to teach integrals motivated by the work done in moving an object?

I am now teaching Calculus of several variables this semester. In apllications of integrals, the problem of finding the work done in moving an object under a force $F$ is one of the most common ...
Hana Puk's user avatar
  • 221
1 vote
2 answers
355 views

Designing a Good Question on Kinematics: Test and Develop

So I was asked in an interview to design two questions for UK Physics A Level students studying the suvat equations, that is, equations of motion with a constant acceleration. The first needs to '...
Henry Murray's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
278 views

Activities for calc based physics

I was sort of thrown into teaching calculus based physics to a bunch of non-physics majors, who have taken one semester of calculus, and are poor with that material. It is only a 50 minute per week ...
Nights's user avatar
  • 183
1 vote
1 answer
109 views

How to use Calculus to give an explanation for a video by Lewin [closed]

In the video by the well-known physicist Water Lewin Link Here, in which he demonstated a series of experiments of rolling objects. Many are quite surprising. At the end of the video, the attended ...
Hana Puk's user avatar
  • 221
0 votes
3 answers
338 views

How can I visualize differential equations and Integration in real life?

How can we understand differential equations and Integration in real life so that we can understand calculus easily. All we do here, at university level is memorize calculus and get the answer. We ...
Ibrahim Omer's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
117 views

What are specific set of tools Partial Differential Equations provide in studying a system? [closed]

I know what are PDEs, but I am looking to identify the major strengths of PDEs. If I have to convince a pool of engineers to use PDEs for solving a problem, let's say stress distribution in a body. ...
111Seven's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
627 views

Integrated math curriculum in different countries

One of the selling points of re-hashed American 1990s high school math programs is that they are "integrated", that is, combine algebra, geometry, statistics, trigonometry just like the European ...
Rusty Core's user avatar
  • 1,300