Instructors_Guide_Intro - Introduction To some extent...

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Introduction To some extent science is hard because it simply is hard. That is to say, the material to be learned involves a great many concepts, some of which are very counterintuitive. … This fact is well understood by the students, the professor, and the general public. What is not as well understood are the various ways in which this already hard subject matter is made even harder and more frustrating by the pedagogy itself. Eric A physics student in Sheila Tobias’ study of science education, 1990 Sheila Tobias (1990) has spent many years as an astute observer of science education. In an interesting experiment, she recruited graduate students from other disciplines to enroll in introductory physics at a large state university. They all had the academic skills needed to succeed in the course, and they offered a perspective on the course more articulate and somewhat more sophisticated than the typical freshman. Uniformly, they found the standard introductory physics course to be boring, crammed with too much material, narrowly focused on numerical manipulation and computation, and biased against any attention to the “big picture” of what physics is all about. Many of our students likely see the course in the same way as Eric. But introductory physics need not be this way. The last 25 years have seen the advent of new knowledge from physics education research, new approaches to physics teaching, and new thoughts about the appropriate content of introductory physics. My textbook Physics for Scientists and Engineers: A Strategic Approach is intended to help bring these new ideas and new techniques into practice. My primary goals in writing this text have been: • To produce a textbook that is more focused and coherent, while less encyclopedic. • To move key results from physics education research into the classroom in a way that allows instructors to use a range of teaching styles. • To provide a balance of quantitative reasoning and conceptual understanding, with special attention to concepts known to cause student difficulties. • To develop students’ problem-solving skills in a systematic manner. • To support an active-learning environment. • To help students come away from introductory physics with improved outcomes and with better memories of the experience. Desired Student Outcomes What do we expect a student who completes introductory physics to have learned and accomplished? Are our teaching materials and methods designed to achieve these outcomes? Are our expectations reflected in what we ask of students on exams? We all expect students to become adept at problem solving. That has long been a paramount goal of introductory physics, and there is no reduction of commitment to that goal in this textbook. In fact, there is good evidence that the approaches suggested here—which, superficially, appear to
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Instructors_Guide_Intro - Introduction To some extent...

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