University of Virginia Department of Physics

Physics 6060

How Things Work II  —  3 Credits
A Distance Learning Course for High School Physics and Physical Science Teachers

 Spring 2011
For a sample of Lectures 1 and 9 on video, click the radio button "Sample Lecture Video" . They can also be downloaded by clicking on Lecture 1 or 9 on the "Syllabus" radio button.



Dear Teachers,

Welcome to How Things Work II.

The demonstrator and lecturer is Professor Lou Bloomfield who has originated and developed the courses How Things Work I and II at UVa. To view a sample lecture, click on radio button Sample Lecture Videos. The lectures are in MP4 format and can be viewed using the software Quicktime on your computer. When you get your UVa email and password, you may download any lecture from Blackboard. If you do not want to download the lectures, they will be available on CDS as before from the UVa bookstore at your expense. For more information, click on Overview. The lectures are not rehearsed, but are edited versions of live lectures given in Phys 106 at UVa. Assignments and administrative information related to the course have been edited from the lectures. Most of the several hundred students in the class take it as an elective to fullfill a science requirement. Although the class that is taped is an undergraduate class, you will still find the lectures and demos interesting and stimulating.

Our purpose in making this course available to teachers is to provide you with a myriad of physics examples of "How Things Work" in everyday life and demos that you can use in your classroom as a teacher. This is an excellent way to motivate young people to learn about science. Some of you may find the level of physics discussion in the classroom rudimentary.  You are welcome to take the level of discussion to any depth as you see fit in your own class room. You will, however, find the multiple-choice exams more challenging as well as arriving at the correct explanations for the essay questions for the case studies that I assign for homework. As a result of talking with many teachers who have taken this course, I have now added some quantitative questions. These are numerical type questions that require you to do simple calculations to get the correct answer. My version of this course allows you to earn 3 graduate credits of a 6000 level course, which can be used towards earning the Master of Arts in Physics Education degree.

Most of the lectures start with a question and proceed to discuss the physics surrounding the question. From the discussion of specific applications we arrive at the general physics principles. The case studies assigned for homework are quite informative and provide an excellent way to study and learn physics concepts. You may also obtain information on how to build any of the demos you see in this course. For example, go to the website http://howthingswork.virginia.edu/ and click on Demonstrations under Instructor Information.