Why donÕt we have a textbook in Modeling Physics?
On
21 Aug 2014, Joe Morin, an experienced modeler in Minnesota, posted this to the
physics modeling listserv:
It's
time for me to answer the "why don't we have a textbook" question for
our students (and then the parents). Please offer your suggestions. If we can
put together a good list we'll have a standard answer. Here are a few bullet
points to start with:
 We
are learning how to do science, not just learn about science.
 We
begin each area of study by posing questions, and then doing experiments to
answer the questions.
 We
don't want to just use a textbook to give us a lot of mindless facts and
formulas.
 We
learn much more by doing than by reading or by listening or watching.
 We
want to learn together and articulate our ideas and sharpen our understanding
through group discourse.
In
August 2017, Joe added this:

Modeling is a welltested pedagogy shown to be superior to other approaches by
physics education research.

Modeling is supported with a wealth of teacher notes, student worksheets, and
other materials for each unit.

Teachers across the country (and abroad) share with one another and continue to
refine their approaches.

Teachers can pick and choose among rich resources to "customize" their
content for different level classes.
All
of my tests and quizzes were "open notes". This encouraged students
to make the material their own, and reinforced the need for them to truly
understand the material. It also comes in handy when/if a parent questions why
their student did so poorly on the last assessment: "Well, it was an open
notebook test."
In
2017, Joe contributed his LETTER TO PARENTS:
Textbook:
Since
conventional textbooks are not the best way of imparting strategic knowledge,
the instructor guides the students through the topics for this course. Content
is selected from sources available from Massachusetts Institute of Technology
and Arizona State University (Pritchard, Hestenes). The textbook: Physics,
Principles and Problems, by Paul Zitzewitz, 2002 is a reference available to students
either online or in hard copy format.
Course
Objectives:
To
equip students with an understanding of the processes of science.
To
enable students to master selected concepts of physics.
To
develop studentsÕ thinking and problem solving skills.
To
help students in the development of their faith.
To
provide students a foundation for college.
Instructional
Objectives:
To
teach students how to think like scientists, and to study and understand
physical phenomena using a scientific process.
To
engage students in gaining a deep understanding of the physical world by
constructing and using scientific models to describe, to explain, to predict
and to control physical phenomena.
To
provide students with basic conceptual tools for modeling physical objects and
processes, especially mathematical, graphical, and diagrammatic
representations.
To
familiarize students with a small set of basic models as the content core of
physics.
To
develop insight into the structure of scientific knowledge by examining how
models fit into scientific laws and theories.
To
teach students to approach problems using fundamental principles of physics.
To
show how scientific knowledge is validated by engaging students in evaluating
scientific models through comparison with empirical data.
To
have students engage in scientific discourse: formulating scientific claims,
evaluating them, presenting them, and soliciting peer input during oral
discourse.
To
teach students to be proficient and critical consumers of educational
technology and prepare them for entering a technologyinfused work place.
To
develop in students a love of learning for understanding.
Prerequisite:
Algebra
I is the only prerequisite. Students need to use mathematical reasoning –
arithmetic, algebraic, and trigonometric – in solving physics problems.
Students are expected to have learned these disciplines in earlier math
courses, but it is recognized by the instructor that students will need to be
retaught these disciplines as they are applied in physics.
Teaching
Methodology:
Building
upon Robert KarplusÕ foundational work on the learning cycle, MIT and ASU each
developed a Modeling process to improve student achievement in physics. The
modeling cycle developed by Malcolm Wells at ASU has two major components,
model development and model deployment. A third component has been added by the
author called model breaking (Noschese).
Web
references:
http://modeling.asu.edu/modeling/mod_cycle.html
http://relate.mit.edu/currentprojects/mapspedagogy/
Addendum:
textbooklike resources (suggested by Jane Jackson in Sept. 2017):
1) A
modelingfriendly free downloadable ÒtextbookÓ is SPIRALPhysics. It has
goalless problems, ranking tasks, and multiple representations. Dwain Desbien,
an outstanding modeler, uses SPIRALPhysics in college physics. Dwain wrote in
2015, "I use parts of it in all my classes. I particularly use it in
University Physics 2 and 3. It is a great resource for activities."
Download many
FREE modules for calculusbased or trigonometrybased physics at:
http://www.dropbox.com/sh/oulpsaytsjxvhzh/AADt7uvQWqNgOXOz5BYrQXba?dl=0
(A permanent
weblink is on the ASU modeling legacy website, at Weblinks for Modelers:
modeling.asu.edu/modeling/weblinks.html
in the section called <Modelbased instructional methods by others>. )
2) In 2017, the AMTA
published an affordable bound Mechanics Coursebook. The Coursebook supports
Modeling Instruction by combining worksheets and the student's lab notebook
into a single resource. As a familiar, textbooklike resource for students, the
Coursebook can increase comfort among parents, administrators, and faculty.
Order at http://sites.google.com/socraticbrain.org/new Click on <CourseBook>. (AMTA
members have a special discount that is unpublished.)