Monday, July 23, 2012

Adopting Matter and Interactions

I'm using Matter and Interactions for the first time with my AP class (AP Mechanics C) this year. Because of the mismatch between M and I's goals and the AP curriculum's goals (both of which are good in their own ways, but put together will really be a complete understanding of mechanics, I think), I'm trying to work ahead to figure out where to supplement with  more of the traditional problems that students will need to be able to solve for the AP exam and which should be a part of every student's arsenal.

I'm also going through the whole curriculum to better orient myself to the vastly different narrative than the usual mechanics treatment. This, combined with the emphasis on computational representations, is the reason that I'm so excited about this curriculum, even though I'll have to do extra prep work to make it work for the context of AP C.

Another wrinkle is that M and I is designed as an intro course, and my students have already had a year of algebra-based (mostly) mechanics. They have good FCI scores and can solve some algebra-based motion, force, momentum, and energy problems well.  Some of the information here is review, some is review in new terminology, some is a new look at something they've seen before, some is a new technique for dealing with a concept that they know for situations that they couldn't apply it to before, and some is totally new.  These all require different approaches, and it's an uphill battle.

Bruce Sherwood has already been an infinite factor more accessible than Walker, Giancoli, Halliday, etc.: I've been in a G+ chat with him and he personally sent me a DVD with the new instructor materials (the Pearson rep jealously guarded these until I could send her a receipt for the purchased books).

I'll try to record and share as many of these strategies and tools as I can.

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