Call for jurors: 2024 Conceptual Physics Tournament, on May 19. We pay $100.
Jacobs Physics
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1M ago
In my school's conceptual physics program, we give cumulative written tests after the first and second trimesters.  In lieu of a final exam*, we are once again running the Woodberry Forest Conceptual Physics Tournament!  This is a competition for 9th graders, to be held at 1:00 on Sunday May 19 2024.  We've done this before, including the last two years after a pandemic-enforced break.  We're happy to be back to annual. *No, to be clear to all, we're not giving an A to the winner and an F to the person in last place.  That's silly.  We're just having a fun, compet ..read more
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April 8 2024: Free AP Physics 1 exam prep live show!
Jacobs Physics
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1M ago
McGraw-Hill, publisher of the 5 Steps to a 5 AP prep book series, is sponsoring a free live physics show for students and teachers.  I'll be presenting from my lab on Monday April 8, from 3:30-5:00pm eastern time. All are welcome!  The way to join is, teachers (preferably) should "register" for free at this link.  They won't ask for you to make a username and password, nor to receive marketing emails.  Just give your last name and email.  Then, you'll get a message with the link to join - a link you can share with all your students, colleagues, friends, whoever ..read more
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AP Summer Institutes 2024 - will the new exam content and structure be discussed?
Jacobs Physics
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1M ago
Of course it will!   I'm doing several online and in-person P1 institutes in summer 2024 - see the sidebar to the left for details.  Please sign up!  The institute will certainly discuss content and structure changes for the 2025 exams. What, specifically, will we do? We will do a number of fluids demonstrations and lab activities, including all three major fluids topics. We will do demonstrations with the three minor content changes in P1: parallel axis theorem, quantitative understanding of elliptical orbits, and center of mass location. We will discuss the new exam form ..read more
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As of the 2025 AP exam revision, are Physics C mechanics and Physics C E&M two separate year long courses now? (No.)
Jacobs Physics
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1M ago
On February 29 2024, the College Board released the course and exam descriptions for the revised version of all four AP Physics courses. You can find all the information and links at this page.   For the AP Physics C exams, the course content will not change.  However, all AP physics exams - P1, P2, C-mechanics, and C-E&M - will be in an identical format as of the 2025 exams.  The format is, 80 minutes for 40 multiple choice questions; and 100 minutes for 4 free response questions.  That means an entire exam takes three hours. But wait!  For decades, the two ..read more
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Experimental procedures in AP physics, the redesigned free response section, and Wally the Astronaut
Jacobs Physics
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1M ago
Wally the Astronaut, from The Physics Aviary Above is a screenshot from the "Work to KE" simulated laboratory exercise on The Physics Aviary. In the exercise, you press start, and a fire extinguisher causes Wally the Astronaut to speed up.  You press stop, and the fire extinguisher ceases to apply a force.  Wally coasts, then passes through two photogates separated by 10 meters.  The time for Wally to cross the photogates is displayed. You can do a thousand different sorts of classroom exercises with this single simulation.  I like to give this quiz here, go over ..read more
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A daily quiz based on 2023 AP Physics 1 question 1 - Did you *understand* how to do the homework problem?
Jacobs Physics
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2M ago
It's getting toward the back half of the school year in AP Physics 1.  I've made a first pass at all the major content units; we've done laboratory activities out the wazoo.  We're gearing toward one more half-length practice AP exam before spring break, and then a final half-length practice in mid April. My students need practice doing cumulative, AP-like problems which require synthesis of multiple concepts; or which require students to choose from the entire year's menu of possible approaches.  Later on, in April and May, I'll have students do authentic AP free response quest ..read more
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Mail Time: how do I have students describe normal and friction forces?
Jacobs Physics
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3M ago
Vanessa asks: How do you have students list the normal force and friction force on an object experiencing friction? Would both Fn and Ff be described as "the force of the surface on the object"? Or do you have them specify "the normal force of the surface acting on the object" and "the friction force of the surface acting on the object"? Just "force of track on cart" or "force of the ground on the cart" or similar, like you said. I work so hard to get students to avoid excess language (like "the downward force of the earth pulling down on the upward moving cart") that I'd undo that work if I i ..read more
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Mail Time: In the day-by-day plan, what are "four minute drill" and "dang fool questions"?
Jacobs Physics
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3M ago
In my workshop materials for both conceptual physics and AP physics 1, I provide a day-by-day plan for an entire year-long physics course.  It's not that I expect teachers to follow it word for word, of course!  See, the most common questions I get at workshops are "In what order do you teach these topics?"  "What problems and labs do you assign during the momentum unit?"  "How do you review for the exam?"  and, especially, "How do you pace your course?"  Seeing the detailed list of activities and assignments that I actually used over a full school year can help t ..read more
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How do you teach students to use simple scales for graphs?
Jacobs Physics
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3M ago
From a physics teacher message board: This topic recently came up on a Facebook group: Some students when plotting graphs will choose an axis scale that uses every line-division, but in turn makes the scale difficult to use and read when plotting points and calculating slopes, etc. I agreed with most responses that say the student deserves full credit. But I also agree that the scaling makes the graph difficult to use when plotting points and calculating slopes. I always tell my students to select a scale that uses at least 50% of each axis AND is easy to use for plotting points and reading ..read more
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Addressing AI use for school assignments - *It's not about AI!*
Jacobs Physics
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4M ago
"I don't understand why using AI for assignments isn't allowed.  AI is a tool, right, like a phone or a computer?"  Peter made this comment in authentic good faith.  The tone was curious.  Peter, my student, wasn't being performative, or jockeying for social capital - no other students were even around.  He honestly wanted to know my thoughts.  And so I answered honestly and openly. "I guess it depends on the purpose of the assignment," I told Peter.  "I agree, AI is a tool, a robot.  Would you use a robot to vacuum your floors?" "Well, yes," he said.&nb ..read more
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