Towards the end of my second semester general physics course last semester, a few students told me (separately) that they liked this semester better than last semester. I did my usual “oh really” face while secretly smiling inside because THEY LIKED ME! But then they said why, and I’ve been trying to figure out whether it means anything. They were saying that they liked how the material was more connected to their lives. My first thought was it was weird that they didn’t feel that way about the first semester – you know, forces, momentum, spinning, stuff like that. It made me think that perhaps I was inadvertently on to something.
They mentioned that they liked the sound unit because we constantly were using examples from their lives to explain things. One example that comes to mind was when I asked them when in their lives they realized that sound didn’t travel infinitely fast. For me it was walking my dog in the outfield of a softball team practice. For others it’s thunder, or a professional baseball game, or whatever. Given the comments from those few students above, I think I want to make sure that I keep doing that kind of thing in class.
I don’t teach the first semester, but I certainly know that my own experience in general physics 1 was not overly related to my life. I remember not being convinced of forces because they didn’t explain pillows to me.
Anyways, I just wanted to get this thought down to remind myself in the future. Your thoughts? Here are some starters for you:
- I was one of those students and you totally misunderstood me. What I meant was . . .
- I was one of those students and what you forgot to mention was . . .
- My students always like the 2nd term material better. I think it’s because . . .
- Weird, my students always like the 1st term material better. I think you’re doing it all wrong by . . .
- This is a woefully short post. Try getting your thoughts together better before firing up WordPress. Here’s a few starters for you . . .
- I jump into modern physics topics right away. You’re a fool not to. Everything you’re teaching is centuries old! Here’s how to fix it. . .
- Great, another batch of students who think that the circuits in their house are DC and other big problems like . . .