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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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21 votes
6 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 ...
8 votes
3 answers
2k views

Disadvantages of working-backwards solutions

Is the 'start with the desired result and work backwards' problem solving method discouraged? I'm now in my 3rd university year and every physics problem has been solved using the 'given values, ...
6 votes
5 answers
5k 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}\...
3 votes
0 answers
71 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
128 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. ...
0 votes
3 answers
420 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 ...
4 votes
7 answers
19k 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 $2\,\mathrm{\frac{m}{s}} = 7.2\,\mathrm{\frac{km}{h}}$. ...
7 votes
0 answers
214 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 ...
9 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
111 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 ...
2 votes
3 answers
147 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
798 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 ...
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 ...
8 votes
1 answer
232 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 ...
8 votes
4 answers
715 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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
363 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 '...
1 vote
2 answers
359 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 ...
8 votes
2 answers
779 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 ...
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 ...
10 votes
1 answer
354 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 ...
21 votes
12 answers
10k views

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.
15 votes
3 answers
931 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 ...
6 votes
4 answers
440 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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
122 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 ...
11 votes
0 answers
139 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 ...
9 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...