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In Search of Newton

In Search of Newton
Kelly Black
University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
July 10-13, 2001

This short course will focus on the combined calculus and physics curriculum at University of New Hampshire developed as part of an NSF funded program. Participants will study updates and changes to both the calculus and physics curriculum. In addition, they will examine class materials and the studio format of instruction pioneered at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

What do our students think about this course? Our students are the best advocates for this course. Here is what a few have to say:

I believe that [the course] helped me with every math or science course I encountered afterwards. Not only through pure knowledge but through learning skills and an increased ability to truly engage myself with the material.

...the end product is very good, for now I can see equations in different ways, and I can see things others can't.

I took a calculus and a physics course in high school, but this class gives me a whole different view of both those subjects. I could never really make the connection between the two even though I knew they were related in some way. In physics last year we were just given equations and all we had to do was to rearrange them and put numbers in. In this class I actually learn where the equations were coming from and how to derive some of them.

Tentative Schedule

  • Tuesday morning
    Overview of calculus/physics at UNH - the what, where, when, why and how
  • Tueday afternoon
    Participants work through one or two integrated calculus/physics activities, such as finding out how an RC circuit behaves or how to find the electric field due to a bar of uniform charge.
    Participants begin work on their own mini-projects. The goal of the mini-projects is for participants to have time to consider one implementation issue in detail.
  • Wednesday morning
    Overview of the assessment of the efficacy of calculus/physics at UNH
    Discussion of issues of coverage - did we have to leave out important topics?
    Informal conversation with instructors and students involved in the course
  • Wednesday afternoon
    Free time for sightseeing
    Participants work on mini-projects
  • Thursday morning
    Discussion of problem-solving rubric for students; how can we coach students to be better problem solvers?
    Participants solve one or two real-world calculus/physics problems. For example, when is a spoked wheel better than an aerodynamic wheel? How do you build an amusement park ride (one that relies on air resistance) for maximum scariness?
  • Thursday afternoon
    Discussion of group work, studio format, and active-learning worksheets
    Participants work on mini-projects
  • Friday morning
    Participants present results of mini-project.

Presenters: Prof Kelly Black (Mathematics) and Prof. Dawn Meredith (Physics) who developed the course will run the workshop. Guest speakers will include Dr. Gertrud Kraut and Prof. Mark Leuschner who taught the course but were not developers, students who were in the class, and Dr. Karen Marrongelle who helped to assess the course.

Details: Participants will stay in the UNH dorms and eat at the dining halls. On Thursday evening we will all go to a restaurant with a bit of local charm.

Costs: All costs are picked up by the MAA, except for transportation to the workshop. All participants will be given a copy of all the materials for the course (save some room in your luggage!)

Click here for the workshop application.

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