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Search for activities specifically designed for introductory college level physics courses. Refine this search by either clicking on the terms in boxes to the right or typing a term into the search box below. Activities include a description, background information, and necessary student documents.


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Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Weight of Gold part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Question Let's suppose that you have a shoe box full of water (the box is waterproof, of course). The shoe box weighs about 9 kg (19.8 pounds). Suppose you emptied the box and filled it completely with rock ...

Visualizing Sun Position of the Seasons part of Cutting Edge:Visualization:Examples
The goal of the exercise is to help students visualize and better understand how the sun changes apparent position over the course of the seasons.

Learning to Think about Gravity: Newtons's Theory part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Interactive Lectures:Examples
The purpose of this exercise is to learn how to think about gravity, learn about scientific methodology, and transition from the Aristotelian to the Newtonian understanding of gravity. -

Helping Students Discover Total Internal Reflection part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Interactive Lectures:Examples
Students learn the basic relationship of Snell's Law, practice applying it to a situation, then are given another situation where it "doesn't work."??? This situation turns out to be one in ...

The Magic of Optics: Now you see it, now you don't part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Teaching with Interactive Demonstrations:Examples
A magical demonstration where a Pyrex tube vanishes in a beaker of mineral oil. Useful demonstration to introduce to concept of refraction (and/or partial reflection).

Introduction to Torques: A Question of Balance, Featuring the Sledge Hammer of the Sierra Madre part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Teaching with Interactive Demonstrations:Examples
Interactive Lecture Demonstrations to illustrate the nature of torques and on the balancing of torques in static equilibrium.

Understanding the Work Energy Theorem: In the lab or as lecture demonstration part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Teaching with Interactive Demonstrations:Examples
This series of questions before instruction, in-class peer instruction as students come to understanding, and visualization of an important mathematical relationship allow students to iterate and improve their understanding of work incrementally.

Experiment Problem in Kinematics: How Much Does it Take to Win the Race? part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Teaching with Interactive Demonstrations:Examples
In this activity, students are presented with two objects that have different constant speeds and that will race each other. The students must determine which object will win the race, as well as either how much time elapses between the objects crossing the finish line.

Properties of Electrostatic Charge: Interactive Lecture Demonstration part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Teaching with Interactive Demonstrations:Examples
This activity is an interactive lecture demonstration format which can be used to teach the first lesson of electrostatics. Students will investigate conservation of charge, charge by contact, polarization of charge and charge by induction.

Elastic and Inelastic Collisions: The Case of the Happy and Sad Balls part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Teaching with Interactive Demonstrations:Examples
Interactive Lecture Demonstration to illustrate that impulses are larger in elastic collisions than in inelastic collisions if other factors are the same.

The Standard Model: Using CERN output graphics to identify elementary particles part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Just in Time Teaching:Examples
After using the historical development of the Standard Model to develop introductory understanding, students link to OPAL and DELPHI data archives from CERN to identify and study the tracks from elementary particles.

Angular Momentum Experiment part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Just in Time Teaching:Examples
After using the historical development of concepts of conserved motion to develop introductory understanding, students are directed to a series of activities to gain a better understanding of momentum, conservation of momenta, angular momentum, and conservation of angular momenta.

The Transformer: Simulation Lecture Demo part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Interactive Lectures:Examples
The activity presents an interactive lecture demonstration of the operation of a transformer using a simulation. -

Think-Pair-Share Analysis of the Operation of a Metal Detector part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Interactive Lectures:Examples
The activity presents a Think-Pair-Share analysis of a metal detector including a simulation. -

Work: pre, during and post class questions part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Interactive Lectures:Examples
This series of questions before instruction, in-class peer instruction, and post-instruction allow students to iterate and improve their understanding of work incrementally. -

Introduction to Work and Energy: The Hopper Popper Surprise part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Teaching with Interactive Demonstrations:Examples

Understanding the Motion of a Harmonic Oscillator part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Teaching with Interactive Demonstrations:Examples
This inteactive lecture and series of demonstrations develops the concepts and vocabulary of oscillatory motion as it relates to the motion of a mass on a spring.

Rutherford's Model of the Atom part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Interactive Lectures:Examples
Students are asked think-pair-share questions to predict the interaction of alpha particles fired toward the nucleus of an atom. An online applet is used to illustrate the interaction and test students' ideas ...

Models of the Hydrogen Atom part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Interactive Lectures:Examples
In this interactive lecture, models of the hydrogen atom are explored using an online Java applet. The exploration leads to qualitative and quantitative analysis of energy transitions. -

Modeling emf, Potential Difference, and Internal Resistance part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Interactive Lectures:Examples
Through class discussion and think-pair-share questions, this activity helps students come to understand the difference between emf and potential difference in electrical circuits. These concepts are broached ...

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