Physics: Mechanics


The curriculum materials below are designed to serve as a resource to teachers who have completed a Modeling Instruction in Mechanics workshop. Two versions of the mechanics curriculum are available. Version 2 (last revised in 2006) was used for many years in mechanics workshops around the country. Beginning in 2012, version 3 was used for the workshop manual. The graphics and teacher notes in version 3 are improved, and the paradigm labs have been updated. Some teachers may prefer using version 2 because there are fewer worksheets and these are generally less detailed.  The outlines for both versions are also slightly different. Version 3 switches the order of units 7 & 8 so that two cases of motion in a plane (U6-2D motion and U7-Central Net Forces) are grouped, followed by two units addressing conserved quantities (U8-Energy and U9-Momentum).

Teachers relatively new to physics might feel more comfortable following the sequence of materials used in the mechanics workshop they attended. However, workshop leaders and Modeling Instruction staff encourage teachers to feel free to choose those activities and printed materials they deem appropriate to meet the needs of their students. To this end, the files are saved in Microsoft Word (03-04) (.doc) format to allow teachers to readily modify the materials to suit their individual teaching styles and situations.
Units 2-6 and 8 are all that are needed for students to have covered the aspects of the force concept as measured by the FCI.

The TeacherNotes documents are organized as follows:

  1. Instructional Goals (1-page list describing key features of the model(s) employed)
  2. Sequence (1-page list of the activities for the unit)
  3. Overview (2-4 page file describing the rationale for the selection of activities and sequencing)
  4. Instructional Notes (detailed description of the notes an instructor would want to read in order to make best use of the labs, demo, discussions and worksheets outlined in the Sequence)

Outline for v3 (2013)

  1. Scientific Methods. This unit sets down the basic practices of Modeling Instruction, and is often skipped, especially if students have prior experience with modeling instruction.
  2. Constant Velocity.
  3. Uniform Acceleration.
  4. Free particle model (force concept, N1 and N3)
  5. Constant force particle model (N2)
  6. Two-dimensional motion
  7. Central force particle model
  8. Energy
  9. Momentum (impulsive force model)

Sample materials (no tests or quizzes) from v3

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