Physics in the Mathematics Curriculum Summary
Tuesday, July 2, 2002
Training in PCMI Website by Suzanne 1:00 - 1:30 in computer lab (how to log
on, what's on site, update personal biography, access daily journal, how
to access and post to PCMI site)
Continued discussion of our purpose:
- Discussed existing mission statement on the PCMI website. How will we
- Yesterday's statement: Using physics as a context to present and study the concept of function (linear, quadratic, logarithmic, inverse, power,
- Other ideas: seeing mathematics through the lens of physics.
- Helping students overcome common misunderstandings by using the lens of
physical activities to focus their thinking.
- Activities we suggest and develop should be dense in mathematics, open-
ended in nature, and should include the physics background needed by
teachers to students to really understand the physical concepts involved
in the activity.
- Perhaps we should brainstorm on areas in which students typically have
troubles, and used this as a focus of what we select to develop activities
on. Don't just limit ourselves to trouble areas; the physical activities
can be used just as well to reinforce, expand, and apply mathematical
concepts previously learned.
- Idea: physics and science teachers often complain students cannot solve
literal equations (equations that don't involve x and y).
Swinging an Open Tube in the Air
Mathematical Concept: Step Functions, (number of revolutions per second
Demonstration of wave introduction for students: students stand shoulder
to shoulder with hand on shoulder. Show longitudinal and transverse waves
and different wave speeds.
- Swing the tube at various speeds. How many modes are possible
with your tube?
- Swing the tube to create the first tone consistently. Time 10
revolutions. How many revolutions/sec?
- Repeat step 2 for each different mode of your tube?
- Gather data from all groups.
- Plot pitch as a function of frequency.
Tomorrow, we plan to brainstorm other ideas, then fully develop these
activities through the next two weeks.
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IAS/Park City Mathematics Institute is an outreach program of the School of Mathematics
at the Institute for Advanced Study, Einstein Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540
Send questions or comments to: Suzanne Alejandre and Jim King
With program support provided by Math for America
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0314808.
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.