20170830

Online reading assignment: flipped classroom, motions and cycles (SLO campus)

Astronomy 210, fall semester 2017
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students have a weekly online reading assignment (hosted by SurveyMonkey.com), where they answer questions based on reading their textbook, material covered in previous lectures, opinion questions, and/or asking (anonymous) questions or making (anonymous) comments. Full credit is given for completing the online reading assignment before next week's lecture, regardless if whether their answers are correct/incorrect. Selected results/questions/comments are addressed by the instructor at the start of the following lecture.

The following questions were asked on reading textbook chapters and previewing presentations on Earth's rotation/precession/revolution/tilt, the moon's motions and cycles, and watching two video presentations on the flipped class: "What Is the Flipped Class?" and "How the Flipped Classroom Works."


Selected/edited responses are given below.

Describe something you found interesting from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally interesting for you.
"Precession, because it occurs every 26,000 years and recently there has been debate within the astrological community about whether all of our current understanding of zodiac signs has been wrong and based on outdated science. It's also fascinating for me to think that no human will ever experience a full precession on earth, although we experience many revolutions and rotations over the course of our lives."

"That when Earth is tilted a certain way during its orbit around the sun, the sun makes different paths through the sky. Such as when it's winter, the sun doesn't rise as high as it would during the summer."

"That our seasons are based on the suns distribution of solar energy and how if it is more spread out then it is winter, and if it hits more directly overhead, then it is summer. This is interesting because I've wondered why the sun seems 'stronger' during summer months."

"The concept of tilt and revolution. It's amazing to think that the weather here on Earth is dictated by astronomy/the revolution of the earth. Upon reading about it I realized how little I think of such things in daily life. I'm sure revolution is responsible for much more that I'm not aware of."

"I really enjoy figuring out the moon phases to either impress women, or my friends."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"The procession takes 26,000 years to complete. How much of an effect will this have on us or anyone living 1,000 years from now?"

"One thing that was confusing to me was the apparent annual motion of the sun. I am just wondering if the sun rises in a different location everyday considering it's moving everyday? Would it be enough of difference to notice the sun rising in a different spot?"

"Earth's revolution and moon's revolution, and determining how much time corresponds with each rotation."

"A little confused on precession vs. tilt, they seem kind of similar but different? What's the difference?"

"One thing I found confusing would be differentiating all the different moon phases. How can we tell which moon phase is the correct one?"

What date would Virgo be just above the east horizon, as seen by an observer at 11 PM in San Luis Obispo, CA? (Ignore daylight saving time.)
February 20.  ********************** [22]
April 25.  [0]
July 4.  * [1]
August 20.  * [1]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  *********** [11]

Match these cycles with their approximate duration.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Earth's rotation: 24 hours [94%]
Earth's revolution: one year [83%]
Earth's precession: 26,000 years [89%]
The moon's revolution: one month [91%]
I believe astrology is able to make accurate predictions about my future. (This is just an opinion question, there are no right answers.)
Strongly disagree.  ***** [5]
Disagree.  ******* [7]
Neutral.  **************** [16]
Agree.  ******* [7]
Strongly agree.  [0]

Briefly explain your answer regarding your belief/disbelief in astrology. (This is just an opinion question, there are no right answers.)
"I don't think the stars effect my life; I think I do."

"I sometimes get accurate astrology readings and always fascinates me if it's legit. However, I never live and go by my days with astrology."

"I do not believe that we have enough knowledge to say with certainty whether the position of celestial objects has any impact on human behavior. However, strictly as a psychological tool it can be useful in giving some a sense of meaning and direction in their lives."

"I believe that astrology can be used to predict certain things about everyone's future. Not necessarily with precise or personal detail but the science effects everyone's lives. It can't tell you if you're going to win the lottery (at least I don't think it can) but it has unmistakable patterns that can alter your existence."

"I believe that you make your own future; and if you believe that your future is already set, then you will not want to try other things."

"Don't put much into it, but who doesn't like a horoscope every now and again?"

"I feel like the 'daily zodiac' fortunes are general and non-specific. They could mean anything to anyone."

"I believe in it if it's positive or makes sense."

"I believe astrology is a positive indicator of a person's personality/life but has no logical evidence of truth."

"I believe that astrology can maybe predict some small and broad parts of our future, but for the most part it can't predict the important more relevant facts."

"I don't believe that the position of stars have any bearing on who a person is in character or personality. if this were the case every person born on the same day would have very similar personalities. at minimum i know anecdotaly this is not true, but i imagine that world wide a study would show this to be factual. Nor do I believe that they can accurately be used to explain/predict or circumstances/ future."

Place these moon phases in chronological order in their cycle (starting with new moon).
(Only correct responses shown, in unscrambled order.)
New moon: first [83%]
Waxing crescent: second [71%]
First quarter: third [74%]
Waxing gibbous: fourth [69%]
Full moon: fifth [71%]
Waning gibbous: sixth [66%]
Third quarter: seventh [60%]
Waning crescent: eighth [57%]

Explain what is different about homework in a flipped class.
"You do 'homework' before you learn the material in class, and then are able to ask questions in class to clarify any confusion."

"It seems as though the flipped class approach for homework is to give you the materials for the class ahead of time to be more prepared for class, allowing for more interactive application."

"You should have already read and have an understanding of the material before you come to class that day."

Describe where/when most student learning occurs in a flipped class.
"Most student learning should occur independently before lecture or after lecture with the provided materials."

"On your own time, outside of school."

"It is learned at home, but questions are answered in class."

"Most of it can be done anywhere but it manily should be learned in class."

"Most student learning should occur while in class, practicing and applying the concepts you are learning."

Pick one piece of student advice from the previous semester, and discuss why you agree (or disagree) with it.
"'Go to class! Ask questions even if you think you sound dumb.' I used to be afraid to speak up in my classes for this very reason. I definitely agree with this advice because I've learned that if one person has a question it often means that other people may have the same question as well and it could end up being beneficial for the class or at least provide the one asking with further clarity."

"'Do well on the quizzes and then your grade on everything else will do better.' I definitely agree with this piece of advice. I've found that when a professor has regular quizzes I stay current on information and in turn do better in the class. While it's usually something I dread I think having a system that requires accountability will give me a better experience in the class."

"'In order to succeed, you must do the homework every week. If you do not, You WILL be lost when you come to class.' I can already see that for this class it makes a huge difference knowing the material for the next class. The majority of the homework is to prepare you for what you will need for the next class."

"'First rule of astronomy class: don't talk about astronomy class. Second rule: find a partner who is good at what you aren't and don't just find a buddy to piss and moan with.' I agree with this as it makes a lot of sense to partner with someone who can help you where you need it."

"'Come to every class, especially if you have a hard time understanding the content!' I agree with this advice because I've found that coming to class helps me understand things and realize that others probably have the same questions as me. Usually I get the answers I needed for my questions. If not, I can always ask my group to help me understand the concepts a little more."

"'Go to class. It helps your grade and is fun. Confusing parts of the book are thoroughly explained when you ask.' I can't say that I agree or disagree yet, though I do hope this is true. While the idea of a flipped class concerns me a bit, I do look forward to class time being dedicated to explaining confusing concepts from the reading."

"'Do homework! There isn't much but it's definitely worth it!' I chose this piece of advice because this homework seemed simple, but I know that it will add up to a good amount of points by the end of the semester.. which I feel many people overlook."

"'Do the work early, this class is made very convenient for you, everything you need to know is on the website. The reading assignments are informative and very creative. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions, this is the best class to ask questions in, and it can be confusing at some points, but P-dog makes it easy to understand and relatable.' I am already enjoying the fact the information for the week is on the website. I can access it from anywhere. I am not afraid to speak up if I am getting lost. Usually there is someone else who is wondering the same thing. This is the first 'fun' class I have had in a couple years. I am looking forward to this semester."

"'Don't be close-minded, do your homework, and open your mind to all the wonderful aspects of our universe and knowledge.' To me this is the most important piece of advice for this class. It's one thing to come to class, engage, do the homework etc... but to truly accept information into one's mind, they must first open it!"

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"I am a little confused on the cycle of moon phases. I think if we could go over it in class it will help me understand which way the cycle goes and nail the names down."

"Will you be providing study guides before we are given exams?" (Yes.)

"It was very efficient of you to make sure students are aware of what a flipped class exactly is before proceeding with this class. I had an instructor last semester who also used this teaching method but the way she explained it was awful and confusing. I didn't watch any of the online assignments because I didn't realize how important they were. Kudos to ya."

"P-dog has a unique method of teaching. I really like how you have your lessons posted online with easy access to your students. Your method is very modern and a good combination of everything which makes it easier for many students."

"In a flipped classroom if one student is very lost on a certain topic but the rest of the class has a complete understanding would you still take the time out of class to review the topic for that one student?" (Yes, typically while I'm circulating around the classroom during the group in-class activities. I'm also available during office hours and after class.)

"It was just weird to read that even in the day time the sky is actually full of stars. It sort of makes sense but not really. Like how are there stars in the sky if the sun is out?" (All those stars still there in the sky, it's just that the sun is bright enough to wipe them out.)

"Is there anything you wish you could teach in this class but can't due to time restraints? Or do you feel like you've covered just about everything you could hope to by the end of a semester? (I used to think there were additional subjects that there could be more time to cover during the semester; but now I just want two things covered: (a) making students realize their place in space and time in this universe; and (b) understanding the evidence for how we know our place in space and time in this universe.)

Online reading assignment: motion

Physics 205A, fall semester 2017
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students have a bi-weekly online reading assignment (hosted by SurveyMonkey.com), where they answer questions based on reading their textbook, material covered in previous lectures, opinion questions, and/or asking (anonymous) questions or making (anonymous) comments. Full credit is given for completing the online reading assignment before next week's lecture, regardless if whether their answers are correct/incorrect. Selected results/questions/comments are addressed by the instructor at the start of the following lecture.

The following questions were asked on the reading textbook chapters and previewing a flipped class presentation on (constant acceleration) motion.


Selected/edited responses are given below.

Describe what you understand from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview. Your description (2-3 sentences) should specifically demonstrate your level of understanding.
"Velocity is the derivative for position and acceleration is the derivative for velocity. The slope for position over time is velocity and the slope for velocity is acceleration on the graph. Knowing which equation to use for specific situations is crucial."

"How we can get acceleration through calculus formulas such as derivatives of velocity and vice versa through integrals. Displacement, velocity and acceleration are highly related and from knowing one formula we can find each equations and values."

"HIntegration gives an area under a curve, while differentiation would give the slope of a curve. There are two types of slopes: tangent for instant velocity and acceleration, and chords for average velocity and average acceleration."

"HPosition, velocity and acceleration are connected with a 'calculus chain of pain.' In the chain of pain moving left is caused by differentation and moving right is caused by integrating. There are five motion equations needed for the acceleration of motion. Graphs can also represent motion."

"How to generally solve physics problems. It roughly says: Read through and pick out the known, given, inferred quantities, and identify remaining unknown quantities. Do this, THEN you choose which of the 5 constant acceleration equations you will use to solve the problem, taking into account which pieces of information you have and which information (quantities) you need to find."

Describe what you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview. Your description (2-3 sentences) should specifically identify the concept(s) that you do not understand.
"What I found confusing was how/when the average speed and magnitude of average velocity can be equal."

"The graphical relations charts confused me a lot. I'm not sure what any of it means."

"The different kinematic equations started to confused me because I'm mixing up what they do. I just need more practice with them."

"I don't understand tangent or chord slopes and the 'chain of pain.'"

"So few letters, so many subscripts."

"I couldn't find anything confusing as I am somewhat familiar with most the material."

Briefly describe the difference(s) between a chord slope and a tangent slope on a graph.
"There are two types of slopes, tangent vs. chord. These correspond to the two different types of velocities and accelerations (instantaneous vs. average)."

"The tangent slope is the slope at a certain point on the curve, while the chord slope is the slope between two points on the curve."

"A chord slope hits two points of a graph while a tangent only hits one."

"Shape?

Mark the level of your exposure to (basic calculus) concepts of derivatives/integrals.
None at all.   ****** [6]
Slight.   ************ [12]
Some.   ****** [6]
A fair amount.  *************** [15]
A lot.   ******** [8]

Indicate how each of these quantities are determined from kinematic graphs.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Displacement ∆x: area under a vx(t) graph. [68%]
Position x: (None of these choices.) [36%]
Change in (instantaneous) velocity ∆vx: area under an ax(t) graph. [53%]
(Instantaneous) velocity vx: tangent slope of an x(t) graph. [66%]
Average velocity vx,av: chord slope of an x(t) graph. [72%]
(Instantaneous) acceleration ax: tangent slope of a vx(t) graph. [55%]
Average acceleration ax,av: chord slope of a vx(t) graph. [51%]

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"What would be a good way to prepare for the quiz, and what kind of questions should I expect?" (The first quiz will be very similar to last semester's quiz that you used scratchers to practice with. Whatever you had problems with on that should diagnose what you need to study more to prepare for next week's quiz.)

"How many problems similar to the ones in the book can we expect on a quiz/exam? Would you consider your exams to be more based on archived quizzes we find online, or is it a fair mixture?" (I would say based more on the past quiz and exam questions (which themselves are loosely adapted from the textbook).)

"Will we be able to bring a handwritten equation 'cheat sheet' to tests?" (No. All equations and constants will be given to you on the quizzes and exams (except for the first quiz).)

"I'm so lost on the whole graphing thing. More lost than I previously thought."

"Can we work through the chain of pain? I'm starting to get it...I think, but I could use a lot more practice."

"Uh, chord slope?"

"From my understanding, is a chord similar to the secant line?" (Wikipedia says, "yes.")

"I would like more lecture in class and less example questions."

"I just want examples for what kind of problems Ill be seeing on exams and quizzes from these chapters."

"I am most confused about the symbols for describing velocity and acceleration. Why is there an arrow above x and v and not t?" (Short answer: even though time has a direction, we can't go backwards in time. Long answer: it depends.)

"Is there a derivative to acceleration?" (There is--it's called jerk. Just as acceleration will cause an object to go from no speed to a fast speed, jerk will cause an object that is not accelerating to suddenly accelerating. There are even higher derivatives past jerk (snap, then crackle, pop, lock, and drop), and on the other side, there are integrals of position (absement, absity, abseleration, abserk, etc.).)

20170829

Online reading assignment: flipped classroom, motions and cycles (NC campus)

Astronomy 210, fall semester 2017
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students have a weekly online reading assignment (hosted by SurveyMonkey.com), where they answer questions based on reading their textbook, material covered in previous lectures, opinion questions, and/or asking (anonymous) questions or making (anonymous) comments. Full credit is given for completing the online reading assignment before next week's lecture, regardless if whether their answers are correct/incorrect. Selected results/questions/comments are addressed by the instructor at the start of the following lecture.

The following questions were asked on reading textbook chapters and previewing presentations on Earth's rotation/precession/revolution/tilt, the moon's motions and cycles, and watching two video presentations on the flipped class: "What Is the Flipped Class?" and "How the Flipped Classroom Works."


Selected/edited responses are given below.

Describe something you found interesting from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally interesting for you.
"I found flipped classes to be interesting, I feel like a great amount of students can really benefit from this way of learning"

"I find it interesting that the sun is almost as equally large as it is far from the moon, and that because we live on Earth we get to experience an almost perfect solar eclipse. I also wonder if this event influenced more primitive societies and their religions when the knowledge of what a solar eclipse was didn't exist."

"I found the starwheel truly amazing. I spent three hours outside locating items on this chart Saturday night from 11 PM to 2 AM."

"Precession, because I hadn't heard about it before. It's interesting that over time people will see different north celestial poles in the sky and that astronomers noticed that so long ago."

"How a lot of us have misconceptions on something as 'simple' as what causes seasons."

"When learning about the four types of motion in the sky, I found it interesting that it takes 26,000 years for Earth's wobbling axis this long to complete a cycle."

"The cause of the seasons as being due to the angle at which the sunlight hits earth's surface, as summer and winter are caused by the Earth's tilt of its north pole toward or away from the sun, rather than being caused by Earth being at perihelion or aphelion of its orbit around the sun."

"The time-lapse video of the moon video helped me to put the still photos of the moon photos together with the correct terms. Understanding that the 'terminator' moves from the right to the left is helpful in differentiating between the waxing and waning phases."

"I found the connection between ancient times and modern times to be fascinating. We are standing on the shoulders of giants and learning exponentially, still using some of the old terminology and methods."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"How the sun makes different paths across the sky in one year and creates arcs."

"How to tell which phase of the moon it is, especially in the waxing or waning phases."

"I could not really understand why Earth had to revolve around the sun as spinning on its tilted axis to create the seasons."

"Rotation is the spinning of Earth on its axis, and this cycle takes approximately 24 hours to complete, depending on your frame of reference--what frame of reference?"

"Pole wandering sounds cool but am a little confused on it!"

"The most confusing aspect of the assignments was the terminology. Many of the terms have similar spellings and it's hard for me to differentiate on the first read-through. Thankfully, I enjoy learning, it just takes me a few times to get it."

"I was a bit lost on the whole zodiac thing."

"How to determine the current zodiac sign from our starwheels."

What date would Virgo be just above the east horizon, as seen by an observer at 11 PM in San Luis Obispo, CA? (Ignore daylight saving time.)
February 20.  ******************** [20]
April 25.  * [1]
July 4.  [0]
August 20.  *** [3]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  ********** [10]

Match these cycles with their approximate duration.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Earth's rotation: 24 hours [97%]
Earth's revolution: one year [82%]
Earth's precession: 26,000 years [94%]
The moon's revolution: one month [88%]
I believe astrology is able to make accurate predictions about my future. (This is just an opinion question, there are no right answers.)
Strongly disagree.  ********* [9]
Disagree.  **** [4]
Neutral.  ************ [12]
Agree.  ********* [9]
Strongly agree.  [0]

Briefly explain your answer regarding your belief/disbelief in astrology. (This is just an opinion question, there are no right answers.)
"I like to believe that our destiny is controlled by our own actions , not based on a prediction from some stars that are beyond our comprehension."

"What's in outer space does not have a effect on me or my future, and most of it does not line up with my beliefs."

"Astrology is based off of nothing. It's basically snake oil."

"I'm neutral on astrology; I believe in the idea of observing the stars to determine one's personality, on the other hand I disagree with the idea of using astrology to make accurate predictions about the future."

"We alone set our path, not the stars when it comes to our own destination."

"God is the one and only who knows with complete accuracy the course of events in my life."

"I believe that God created me and has a plan for my life, although I have the ability to go against His plans for me."

"I think coincidence is a strong motivating factor along with confirmation bias. It is easy to align with the things that make sense to a person about themselves, while discarding the bits that don't line up with them personally."

"I've never had any personal experience with astrology predicting my future, so I have no opinion."

"There's so many children born under the same position of the stars, moon, sun and other planets, that to me doesn't really make sense. How their future or the way the planets or stars are aligned is going affect all the lives of the people that were born the same day. I did choose neutral because when I check my horoscope sometimes it can be accurate and sometimes it isn't."

"I believe that astrology can make accurate predictions about my future and I also believe that our zodiac signs describe each person very well. I think that if signs are compatible the relationship will work out good but I don't want to base it all on astrology either. I'm a believer but not completely overboard."

"Sometimes they are very general and most people can fit into many of the categories, but they mostly focus on their own. In a general sense they are fun to read about what the stars say about particular people."

"I've always been into horoscopes and how the celestial bodies can influence our day-to-day lives."

"I believe that astrology is very much a prominent factor in our lives. When I say astrology, I mean ALL the aspects of it, not just the zodiac: the degrees that the sun, moon and planets are in when we are born, in my eyes, greatly influence who we are. I will state, however, that I do not have any scientific facts to support this belief."

Place these moon phases in chronological order in their cycle (starting with new moon).
(Only correct responses shown, in unscrambled order.)
New moon: first [92%]
Waxing crescent: second [85%]
First quarter: third [76%]
Waxing gibbous: fourth [73%]
Full moon: fifth [85%]
Waning gibbous: sixth [62%]
Third quarter: seventh [59%]
Waning crescent: eighth [59%]

Explain what is different about homework in a flipped class.
"Since we have a lot more time for feedback from the teacher where we can practice key concepts, we have a clearer awareness of what we need to focus on."

"In a flipped class you do all of the reading before class so you have a general sense of what you are going to learn and the professor clarifies and goes over while expanding on the topics so they make more sense. In a conventional class the teacher gives the information and they're required to do the reading afterwards as a type of review."

"Class time is spent doing in-class activities; rather than learning about the lesson in class students can read/watch the lesson on their own time."

"The homework from a flipped class is done with our peers and teacher, instead of alone at home so we can consult one another on it."

"The difference between conventional classes and flipped classes is that all the reading and preparation for the next class in done at home to get the most out of class time."

Describe where/when most student learning occurs in a flipped class.
"Learning occurs the most in a flipped class during the class time where we collaborate with other students and obtain clarification from the teacher, this will result in the student having a greater collection of resources."

"Our learning should occur during class time, because that is when we are applying the information and we are able to further our understanding by doing activities and we are able to ask you/the instructor questions that we may have."

"That kind of depends on what kind of learner you are. For visual learners, the learning might take place in reading and viewing presentations prior to the class period. For more hands-on people, it would be in class when the material is applied with other students and the teacher. Also, in class, the teacher can help students gain better understanding of the concepts and directly answer questions and give demonstrations."

"In a flipped class, the information that you learn is done at home through the reading and then the teacher clarifies any questions in the next class. A conventional class is the opposite where the teacher covers all of the lecture notes in class at the time and the student then goes home to read it and understand it."

"Most of the learning can happen at home online. The teacher posts the lesson that they would have taught in class online so that students can view at home before going to class that way they can use class time to their full advantage and the teacher can give students the individual help and support that they may need."

Pick one piece of student advice from the previous semester, and discuss why you agree (or disagree) with it.
"'Go to class! Ask questions even if you think you sound dumb.' I agree with the others too, but this one caught my attention because I don't know much about astronomy so I feel shy to ask. I don't want to sound!"

"'In order to succeed, you must do the homework every week. If you do not, you WILL be lost when you come to class.' I agree with this piece of advice because it's completely true. In order to succeed we do need to do homework and if we don't do the homework once we get to class we won't know what's going on. Especially in a flipped class type of environment. Doing the homework and not getting behind will ultimately be the key to success."

"I completely agree with people saying that you really need to keep up on the reading it is the most important part of a flipped class because if you don't then you're lost."

"'Attend class and take notes.' I agree with this in particular as all I've ever done when it comes to learning in class can be summed up with attending class and retaining the information (which is made easier via notes)."

"Reviewing past quizzes and tests sounds like a very good idea. I haven't really had the opportunity to do that in the past, but i can definitely see this being advantageous. Especially when one can review what was done wrong and further cement what was done right."

"I found that all of your students respected you, and enjoyed your way of teaching. The three biggest takeaway heplful hints: READ, SHOW UP TO CLASS, ASK QUESTIONS."

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"I really like the way you teach your class. The fact that you are not reading directly off of a text book is a big plus. Keep up the good work."

"I am excited about this class and seeing how physics and astronomy go hand-in-hand!"

"I have a difficult time understanding why astrology is relevant to my learning astronomy? It's not that I am opposed to learning about astrology, but it would be nice to have an understanding of how this needs to fit into my knowledge of astronomy."

"Will we be working in groups through out the semester or can one choose to work on their own? I like to work on my own for the most part, unless it's a group assignment." (You'll be assigned to different groups each day. You're welcome to print out your copy of the in-class activity if you want your own copy to work on individually, but what gets turned in should be a collaborative group effort.)

In the advice from former students somebody said to study past tests and quizzes, and I was wondering if you have those available as study tools?" (The quizzes and exams from last semester are listed individually on the "Goals" pages of the course website. You'll also practice these in the class just before each quiz and exam.)

20170828

Online reading assignment: speed and velocity

Physics 205A, fall semester 2017
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students have a bi-weekly online reading assignment (hosted by SurveyMonkey.com), where they answer questions based on reading their textbook, material covered in previous lectures, opinion questions, and/or asking (anonymous) questions or making (anonymous) comments. Full credit is given for completing the online reading assignment before next week's lecture, regardless if whether their answers are correct/incorrect. Selected results/questions/comments are addressed by the instructor at the start of the following lecture.

The following questions were asked on the reading textbook chapters and previewing a presentation on displacement, distance traveled, and average/instantaneous speed/velocity.


Selected/edited responses are given below.

Describe what you understand from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview. Your description (2-3 sentences) should specifically demonstrate your level of understanding.
"Distance traveled is always a positive quantity, secondary to it being the total distance an object travels regardless of its direction. While displacement can either be a positive or negative quantity depending on the direction the object traveled from its initial to final position."

"Distance is space traveled, always positive and displacement is the straight line from point a to point be, either positive or negative. speed is distance/time and velocity is displacement/time."

"I had a bit of a hard time understanding average velocity versus instantaneous velocity, but I think I understood it after a bit of thought. I realized that instantaneous velocity pertains to a specific instance in time. Since average velocity is the overall average it measures the displacement over a certain length of time."

"Average speed equals distance traveled divided by total time. It's always a positive quantity."

"Average speed and velocity are pretty easy to understand. Finding the average speed is done by dividing distance by elapsed time, such as miles per hour. And finding average velocity is done by dividing displacement by elapsed time."

Describe what you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview. Your description (2-3 sentences) should specifically identify the concept(s) that you do not understand.
"I am still struggling to keep significant figures straight between multiplication and addition. I tend to make simple mistakes and not have an answer that's even listed on the multiple choice."

"The differences between the different velocities and speeds kind of threw me for a loop. I'm not exactly sure about the magnitudes between them and when they are greater/less than or equal to one another."

"Something I struggled with was the instantaneous velocity and speed. Specifically how they were denoted and the equation used for instantaneous velocity and average velocity."

"I was a little confused on the difference between speed and velocity until I looked at the different examples and spoke the terms out loud."

"The most confusing points for me were what is the meaning of 'the magnitude' of anything like: average velocity, displacement, etc. Also, using some of the formulas in an actual problem might be helpful to understand the concepts better."

"I am truly lost on the instantaneous velocity. This is because the symbols used I am not familiar with and I'm just lost."

"I'm confused as to whether the speedometer would measure displacement or instantaneous speed."

"I'm still not completely following the instantaneous velocity. I understand it is the small displacement over the short time interval I just think discussing it further may make me more confident."

"There are no concepts presented in the reading that I do not understand."

Briefly describe how you would walk along a straight, level road such that your distance traveled would be longer than your displacement.
"You would walk forward and then walk backwards. This way your distance traveled is more than your displacement."

"If I walk straight 10 m then go back the same way 5 m , my displacement would be 5 m, however my distance traveled would be 15 m. Is that right?"

"Honestly I know why the distance would be longer than the displacement I just cannot find the right words to describe it."

"If you were walking along a straight road, your distance traveled would be longer than your displacement if you were to walk back and forth between the initial and final points."

In general, average speed will be __________ the magnitude of average velocity.
less than.   ** [2]
equal to.   ****************** [18]
greater than.   ************** [14]
(More than one of the above choices.)  ********** [10]
(None of the above choices.)   [0]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  **** [4]

In general, (instantaneous) speed will be __________ the magnitude of (instantaneous) velocity.
less than.   ***** [5]
equal to.   ********************************** [34]
greater than.   ***** [5]
(More than one of the above choices.)  ** [2]
(None of the above choices.)   [0]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  ** [2]

In general, which of the following quantities could be negative?
Average velocity.  ******* [7]
Average speed.  [0]
(Instantaneous) velocity.   * [1]
(Instantaneous) speed.  [0]
(More than one of the above choices.)  ************************************ [36]
(None of the above choices.)   * [1]
(All of the above choices.)  *** [3]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  [0]

An odometer measures an object's:
displacement.   ** [2]
distance traveled.  ********************************************** [46]
(instantaneous) velocity.   [0]
(instantaneous) speed.  [0]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  [0]

A speedometer measures an object's:
displacement.   * [1]
distance traveled.   * [1]
(instantaneous) velocity.   * [1]
(instantaneous) speed.  ********************************************* [45]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  [0]

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"Not sure if this pertains to the preview for Monday or review for Wednesday!" (Well, both, actually.)

"How do we calculate the velocity for an object going in circular motion?" (Just worry about one-dimensional motion for now. #toosoon)

"Should we be starting a formula sheet to start memorizing, or will we be given formulas on quizzes/exams?" (Equations are given at the bottom of the archived quizzes, and on the last page of each in-class worksheet packet online. Note: there are no equations provided for the first quiz!)

"A review of the relationships between instantaneous speed/velocity vs. average speed/velocity would be helpful."

"Clarification on the relationships between magnitudes of average/instantaneous velocity/speed?"

20170822

Online reading assignment: significant figures, unit conversion, dimensional analysis, flipped classroom

Physics 205A, fall semester 2017
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students have a bi-weekly online reading assignment (hosted by SurveyMonkey.com), where they answer questions based on reading their textbook, material covered in previous lectures, opinion questions, and/or asking (anonymous) questions or making (anonymous) comments. Full credit is given for completing the online reading assignment before next week's lecture, regardless if whether their answers are correct/incorrect. Selected results/questions/comments are addressed by the instructor at the start of the following lecture.

The following questions were asked on reading textbook chapters and previewing presentations on significant figures, course policies, unit conversions and dimensional analysis.


Selected/edited responses are given below.

Describe what you understand from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview. Your description (2-3 sentences) should specifically demonstrate your level of understanding.
"I understand the arithmetic rules of how to calculate significant figures in math problems. It is all pretty self-explanatory once you get the flow chart down in your head."

"Significant figures are important because they provide a standard for how exact a measurement is. Finite measurements like people or the number of oranges in a basket do not use significant figures. For addition and subtraction, pay attention to decimal place on the least exact measurement. For multiplication and division, pay attention to the smallest significant figures."

"When converting to different units (without the mathematical component), one must start with the initial unit. If changing to a different unit, the initial unit needs to be on the bottom (divide by) and the unit that the equation is being converted to needs to be on the top (multiply by). By doing this, the initial units is canceled out by dividing, and you are left with the final unit you multiplied by. This can be applied to problems where the units is being changed more than one time by repeating this process."

"All measurements recorded must include units. You can convert in-between different units using dimensional analysis. Dimensional analysis is used to check mathematical relations for consistency."

Describe what you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview. Your description (2-3 sentences) should specifically identify the concept(s) that you do not understand.
"I am planning on really looking over the significant figures flow chart, because I was taught a completely different way. I cannot quite understand the chart yet but I feel like with a little practice and using it in questions/equations I will fully understand it."

"At first figuring out when you count the digit and when your just go off the decimal points was kind tricky when adding or multiplying, but after clarification and reading, this concept isn't a problem anymore."

"None of the material confuses me outright. Some of the tougher dimensional analysis problems can trip me up though."

"I understand sig figs, but honestly I found the illustrated example of using 3 multiplied by 4 equals 12 confusing. The way it was worded I had to reread the example several times to wrap my mind around the concept."

"I am somewhat confused by the difference between measurements such as inches or cm (in which a decimal answer is possible) and measurements such as population (in which a decimal is not possible). I am concerned about whether it will be obvious when a solution should be in decimal or not depending on the type of measurement."

"I found problems with multiple operations a tad bit more confusing. I think it is because you're having to use multiple rules, and it is a matter of going in order."

"The only thing I found confusing was an example in the presentation saying there was two sig figs when there was only one digit that was not zero. However, I looked closer in the flow chart and saw the 'rule of two' at the bottom that I didn't see before, which cleared that problem for me."

Match the SI (Système International d'Unités) prefixes with their corresponding powers of ten.
(Only correct responses shown.)
centi- (c): 10–2. [100%]
giga- (G): 109. [95%]
kilo- (k): 103. [98%]
mega- (M): 106. [95%]
micro- (µ): 10–6. [98%]
milli- (m): 10–3. [100%]
nano- (n): 10–9. [98%]

Mark the level of your exposure to units and dimensional analysis.
None at all.  * [1]
Slight.  ***** [5]
Some.  *************** [15]
A fair amount.  ************** [14]
A lot.  ****** [6]

Explain what is different about homework in a flipped class.
"Homework in a flipped class should be much easier, because you get much more time to practice material in class and fully understand the contents before you even leave the room, due to double exposure to material."

"Homework in a flipped class is made to prepare for the next class."

"It, in a sense, forces you to read at least some of the book in order to complete the assignment. This takes out educated guesses, without really learning on the homework assignments. It also allows you to learn before you come to class and make better connections during class rather than possibly worse connections after class."

"Students can access lectures and information before the lecture, allowing them to complete homework or practice problems within the scheduled lecture time allowing for increased application of knowledge and the ability to ask questions of the instructor."

"You have more in-class time to work on problems with your peers."

"Homework tends to be done in class with the instructor available for any needed help."

"Homework questions can be asked in class because there is more time because people have read the lectures in advance."

"You learn the lesson at home and then go to class and expand upon that, for further understanding."

Describe where/when most student learning occurs in a flipped class.
"Learning occurs at home and then engaging/clarification is in the classroom to make the subject matter more clear."

"Most learning occurs outside of the classroom rather than inside of the classroom. Outside of class activities prepare you for the next lecture."

"The students read at home but I think they really begin learning in the class."

"It is different for every student."

"With lectures outside of class, individually focused learning takes place in class. Learning takes place both out of class and in class, but in class is where student-led learning takes place."

Pick one piece of student advice from the previous semester, and discuss why you agree (or disagree) with it.
"It does not help to procrastinate. I agree with this because I have done this in the past and it makes me stressed."

"Read the blog prior to lectures, quizzes or exams--I strongly agree with this advice, because it is already very clear that the blog contains all of the advice and content needed to succeed in the class."

"Reading the book before lectures is a piece of advice that resonated with me, as I've found this technique helpful in other classes."

"I agree with the student who said get into a group and study because it helps you get a different perspective on the topic and might be able to get a question answered that you might have while working on the homework. I would add to work in a group with a tutor because if everyone is stumped in the group, it helpful to get some guidance on the problem that has a higher chance of being correct."

"An organized life equals organized grades. The more organized my life and school work are, the better I feel about my productivity."

"I had a hard time circulating between the number of links and material given, but I understand that following the multiple process--lecture, blog reading, feedbacks, textbooks and curiosity--will lead to success in this course."

"'Work through the study problems posted on the blog.' I agree with this because I think it's very helpful for quizzes and exams."

"'Understanding the material and trusting yourself.' This is really important to me because my biggest issue is second-guessing myself after I know the answer."

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"This style of class learning is all new to me. I hope for success. I appreciate all the help I can get."

"Have you always encouraged the flipped classroom setting, and if not, what made you decide to do so?" (I've been in the process of gradually flipping my classes over the past seven years; just trying to break out of lecturing straight through each class, and instead allowing time to let students work on solving problems in class, where I'm readily available to observe them and give appropriate feedback.)

"Can you write reminders of homework due dates and other important test/quiz/assignment due dates on the board during lecture?" (Remembering homework due dates is easy--every midnight before class! Also, the quiz, midterm and Final Exam dates are listed right on the course calendar webpage.)

"Why did you pick the nickname 'P-dog?' I really like it and it makes you more approachable as a professor but I am curious if there is a story behind the nickname." (Long story short: I blame my snarky graduate student teaching assistants at UC-Davis; the students picked it up from them. #streetcred)

"Do you visit Hawaii often?" (At least once a year to visit family. It seems that Hawaii is always on my mind. #alohaaina)

"P-dog! Besides teaching physics, what hobbies or recreational activity do you enjoy? What do you like to do with you free time to handle stress?" (I DJ swing music at the Madonna Inn on Mondays, and Mrs. P-dog and I go on road trips with our converted Subaru: "Slumberjack, the Sleeping Forester." #optoutside)