The Physics Teacher

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ISSN / EISSN : 0031-921X / 1943-4928
Total articles ≅ 15,828
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Said Shakerin
The Physics Teacher, Volume 59, pp 569-572;

Several new devices that demonstrate a variety of known phenomena in fluid dynamics are presented. These add on to a recent collection of demonstrations and follow the same design features as documented earlier (self-contained, easy to use, low cost). Descriptions are provided to enable replication by others, using readily available materials. The significance of each demonstration is outlined and background information on the relevant physics can be found in the cited references. The devices can be generally used in classroom lecture demonstrations, outreach activities, or other student-based projects. However, pedagogical details are left to readers’ discretion, depending on the scope of local interests and constraints. Video samples of demonstrations are available online.
Caroline Bustamante, Jacquelyn J. Chini, Erin Scanlon
The Physics Teacher, Volume 59, pp 573-576;

The number of students with disabilities and specifically students with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) entering postsecondary STEM education has been increasing in recent decades. However, many instructors and popular research-based curricula are not prepared to support such learner variation. The views and experiences of people with disabilities are not uniform, either across diagnoses or within a single diagnosis, such as ADHD. Thus, individuals’ thoughts about how to support students with ADHD in physics courses will vary. We present views from one student with ADHD about strategies instructors can use to help her succeed in introductory physics courses.
David E. Meltzer
The Physics Teacher, Volume 59, pp 530-534;

Many readers of this journal are probably familiar with calls from governmental, business, and educational authorities to expand and improve the preparation of science teachers, with a particular focus on the shortage of highly qualified physics teachers. It may seem as if this problem has been around forever, and in fact similar expressions of alarm have been heard for well over a century. Why, then, does this shortage persist? Has the physics community been negligent in offering possible solutions? In fact, the opposite is true: physics educators long ago arrived at a consensus and pointed to a way forward, with a consistent set of recommendations. By tracing the history and elucidating those recommendations, we hope to help motivate physics educators to promote these goals more clearly, and with greater specificity and urgency.
Thomas B. GreensladeJr.
The Physics Teacher, Volume 59, pp 540-541;

In 1981 I published a note on “Balancers” as part of a series of illustrations drawn from 19th-century physics texts. Some months later a wonderful present arrived from a physics teacher in Japan, showing the range of our journal. This was the Horse and Rider Balancer in Fig. 1 that was just like the woodcut in my note. The little device, only 23 cm high, sits on a shelf in my museum of early physics teaching apparatus, and many visitors are drawn to it. This is a standard piece of early physics demonstration apparatus. The addition to the lead ball attached to the horse brings the center of mass below the point of suspension. Any movement from this equilibrium point raises the gravitational potential energy of the system and it oscillates until it gets into equilibrium once more.
Chris I. Larnder
The Physics Teacher, Volume 59, pp 542-543;

Today’s students are increasingly immersed in a landscape of screens and handheld digital devices through which a good deal of their interactions with the world around them are mediated. Physics educators, meanwhile, continue to rely on traditional human interactions with the physical world, such as sliding down a ramp or throwing a baseball, in order to illustrate fundamental concepts in physics. Regrettably, these interactions are decreasingly representative of the kinds of everyday activities that our students engage in, reducing their degree of engagement with the material. A new opportunity lies in the behavior of smartphones in response to sustained tilted orientations, which has for some time become a familiar mechanism of interaction between students and many of the mobile apps that they engage with on a daily basis. Here we demonstrate how a methodical investigation of this digital-era mechanism can be used to introduce the inclined plane, a standard topic in most introductory mechanics courses. We also present an open-source 3D-printed apparatus designed to support this investigation and the experiences from well over 1000 students in three different colleges.
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