This tag is associated with 11 posts

July 2015 Workshops and Graphical Solutions for Physics

I am leading two workshops this summer. Both workshops are on teaching graphical solutions in physics. Why are graphical solutions so great in physics classes? Graphical solutions put sense-making at the center of problem solving. They work for all levels of students. They make more challenging problems accessible to students with less math confidence/experience and they … Continue reading

Graphical Solutions for Forces and Kinematics (Workshop Recap)

I gave a workshop with Mike Pustie in NYC in June and with Casey Rutherford in Minneapolis in July on using a graphical approach to solve kinematics and force problems. I wrote a bit about the content involved in my preview post, and I wanted to follow that up here by making the slides and … Continue reading

Free, Unofficial Workshop during AAPT in July

NOTE: This post was from 2014. This workshop already happened. Keep reading if you want to know a bit more about graphical solutions in physics. Graphical Solutions for Forces and Kinematics On the Sunday of the AAPT summer meeting (July 27th), Casey Rutherford and I are offering a free, unofficial1 workshop on using velocity graphs and … Continue reading

Drawing accelerated position-time graphs

During our PLC chat this week, we talked at one point about how long it takes for students to become completely consistent in drawing motion graphs. My experience has been that students become confident relatively quickly in drawing the velocity-vs-time graphs (having switched their brain into thinking through v-t graphs), but still sometimes struggle to draw … Continue reading

Energy Pie Charts

The stage is set. We started building the energy transfer model (ETM), and we’ve talked about the flavors of energy. We are ready for a new representation to help us start thinking about energy storage in a system. In a day or two, we’ll be using energy bar charts, but first, we’ll get used to … Continue reading

LinReg for physics class data graphing

What is LinReg and how can I get it? Note: This is not meant to be an advertisement. I was in no way solicited by, nor am I affiliated with, the creator of the program. This is a recommendation and love letter about a tool that has made a huge difference in my classes this … Continue reading

“This is a boss equation.”

We’ve been pushing graphical methods to solve problems (see: Vector Addition Diagrams, IFF Charts, LOL diagrams, etc) like nobody’s business. So even just a few units into the year, these physics kids may be graphical problem-solving wizards, but a lot of them still hunger for equations in an insatiable sort of way. Even though we … Continue reading

Force Vector Addition Diagrams (or, Components No More!)

The graphical solution bug has really gotten me this year (and in the best possible way). I’ve apparently done such a good job of pushing the graphical solutions that one of my classes stopped me in my tracks while I was showing them how to solve force problems by breaking the forces into components and … Continue reading

Energy Bar Charts (LOL Diagrams)

“LOL diagrams are my life.” —Honors Physics student from 2010 I have to admit, first of all, that I wasn’t expecting to love energy bar charts (when I first heard about them). I didn’t originally learn to solve energy problems that way, and when I first saw them, I thought it was a silly waste … Continue reading

Velocity Graphs into Equations

aka How to kill . Now that we’re pros (Wheaties box, here we come) at drawing velocity-vs-time graphs, we need to be able to turn those graphs into equations if we want to use them as tools for solving problems. One big stumbling block in solving constant acceleration (CAPM) problems is that, very very often, … Continue reading


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