Physics in the Mathematics Curriculum Summary
Tuesday, July 2, 2002
Training in PCMI Website by Suzanne 1:00 - 1:30 in computer lab (how to log
on, what's on site, update personal biography, access daily journal, how
to access and post to PCMI site)
Continued discussion of our purpose:
- Discussed existing mission statement on the PCMI website. How will we
- Yesterday's statement: Using physics as a context to present and study the concept of function (linear, quadratic, logarithmic, inverse, power,
- Other ideas: seeing mathematics through the lens of physics.
- Helping students overcome common misunderstandings by using the lens of
physical activities to focus their thinking.
- Activities we suggest and develop should be dense in mathematics, open-
ended in nature, and should include the physics background needed by
teachers to students to really understand the physical concepts involved
in the activity.
- Perhaps we should brainstorm on areas in which students typically have
troubles, and used this as a focus of what we select to develop activities
on. Don't just limit ourselves to trouble areas; the physical activities
can be used just as well to reinforce, expand, and apply mathematical
concepts previously learned.
- Idea: physics and science teachers often complain students cannot solve
literal equations (equations that don't involve x and y).
Swinging an Open Tube in the Air
Mathematical Concept: Step Functions, (number of revolutions per second
Demonstration of wave introduction for students: students stand shoulder
to shoulder with hand on shoulder. Show longitudinal and transverse waves
and different wave speeds.
- Swing the tube at various speeds. How many modes are possible
with your tube?
- Swing the tube to create the first tone consistently. Time 10
revolutions. How many revolutions/sec?
- Repeat step 2 for each different mode of your tube?
- Gather data from all groups.
- Plot pitch as a function of frequency.
Tomorrow, we plan to brainstorm other ideas, then fully develop these
activities through the next two weeks.
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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under DMS-0940733 and DMS-1441467. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.