Physics in the Math Curriculum

Thursday, July 12

The issue of formula memorization vs. real comprehension of principles is a continual struggle in both physics and math classrooms. Equations are a seductive alternative to the effort of thought. With this in mind, Kris Skrutvold introduced a variety of simple toys, assigning us the task of developing investigative plans to uncover the underlying physics of each toy.

The toys provided non-threatening objects on which to focus attention, and we found the applicable physics ranged from the very simple to the deep on every toy. We were joined by the U.W. team, who enriched the discussion with their insights.

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under DMS-0940733 and DMS-1441467. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.