I have found that most people have an intuition about mechanical physics that is generally correct before the algebra and calculus starts to confuse them. This comes from the fact that before we could speak, we were learning how to exist in the world around us (a world that is governed by physics). For instance, a child knows that your food will remain on the table unless he/she adds a force to push it onto the floor. Or that a ball thrown straight up into the air will eventually come to a stop, reverse direction and come right back down to earth. The most common issue people seem to have with physics is that, when they add in the math they forget to look at the larger picture of what is really happening. With that being said, there are several important steps that can help you with physics problems. 1: Identify all the information given and write it down at the top of the page. (It helps if you are labeling a diagram) EX: A ball is rolled horizontally... read more
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I've always had an opinion that conceptual Physics (and even advanced Mathematics) should be introduced at the primary school level. It's just amazing that when I'm beginning to draw an airplane for an example problem explaining vectors, my 12 year old student goes off on a tangent when she explains in laymen's terms - Bernoulli's Principle. I probably should've started drawing a curve ball instead. Lol
Hi All! In the spirit of giving, starting on 11/29/2013, I will be offering a few brainteasers/ trivia questions where the first 3 people to email me the correct answer will receive a free, one hour, tutoring session in any subject that I offer tutoring for (via the online platform)! That's right free! Get your thinking hats on everyone! Merry Christmas!! Andrew L. Profile
I used to do this and I see a lot of students who do this common mistake when studying. Maybe you are working through old homework problems to prepare for an exam in math or physics and you have the solutions in front of you. You get to a certain point and you get stuck, so you check the solution, see what the next action you have to take is, and then continue working through the problem. Eventually you get an answer that may (or may not) be right and check the solution again. If it is, you feel great and move on. If it isn't you compare the work and see what you did wrong and understand the mistake so you move on. All this is a fine way to start studying, but the major mistake is that most students don't go back to that problem and try to do it again. Even if you were able to understand the solution or the mistake you made, you never actually got through the problem completely without aid. So now if you come to this problem on your test, this will be the first time you actually... read more
Many times students look at graphics and word problems as perfect storms. If the problem is analyzed and related to a real life situation, I bet concepts should be easily understood. Today I was tutoring a senior student on Physics. She looked at a graph of time vs velocity with a question mark on her face. What I did was to place her on a real life case in which she is driving from home, speeds up, see a well known police officer in this area, so.... slowing down, then driving at constant speed (flat section of graph with acceleration = 0) and then slowing down again when getting to her friend's house before stopping. That was an AHA moment indeed!
One day I was sitting in the student union at the University of Utah when I noticed two students sitting near me working on a physics problem. One student was having trouble and the other was explaining how to do it using big hand motions. The first student nodded he understood. The second student left his friend to work on the problem on his own, and I watched him work for a while, then turn to his laptop, where he entered his answer into an online homework site and submitted it. This site gives you a little green checkmark when you get the right answer, and when the checkmark appeared, he pumped his fist. It seemed this little tutoring session went perfectly. There was just one problem. The second student's explanation was completely wrong; he was literally 'handwaving'! So how was it, exactly, that the first student was able to solve the problem with such bad information? Beats me. What I can say is that tutoring is more than just the transfer of information from... read more
Galileo was a famous astronomer who was the first scientists to point his telescope towards the heavens and view the moon, rings of Saturn and other amazing objects. When he began to study the moon he noticed that there were craters and plains on it. He also noticed that there were mountains on the moon by noticing light patterns on the moon.Many people would have gone on to the next observation, but Galileo began to measure these mountains. I, like many other students, would always ask "what is the point of math?" "when will I ever use this?" so on and so on.Well depending on the career path you may never need the high level math you are required to take, but I hope that you at least appreciate math for the power that it holds in unlocking mysteries of our universe. Think about it the moon, is 238,900 miles!!!! And in the 1600's without any sophisticated gadgets like we possess, a humble scientist was able to measure the height of a mountain of a far away object... read more
I was tutoring a student the other day in physics and, in trying to explain the usefulness of writing the fundamental equation before solving a problem, the strangeness of spontaneous analogy struck again. Looking at my teenage protege, I told him, "Physics is like a soap opera. Unless you define the relationship, you won't have any idea of what's going on." After a stunned moment of silence, we both laughed then went back to the problem. But oddly, after thinking about it, this analogy works better than any I have ever come across or invented when describing the math-intensive sciences. There are so many equations and variables out there for chemistry and physics that keeping them straight is like trying to work out a relationship tree for "All Our Children" or "The Young and the Restless". That's where practice comes in. Like watching a soap or any tv show weekly, daily practice with equations is so useful in understanding what everything is... read more
I was surprised one day to hear the instructor in an introductory physics class claim that "memorization is useless." He meant that it won't help you succeed in a physics class. Now this professor is a smart guy, but this claim is untrue. If he'd qualified it by saying that memorization is not enough, that would be different. Certainly it's true that compared with a history class, remembering random facts is a relatively unimportant skill in physics. But he didn't say that, so his actual statement, that "memorization is useless", is nonsense. The professor tried to support his claim by showing how, if he happened to forget the quadratic formula, he could quickly derive it. That's fine, but you have to start from somewhere, and the more you know, i.e. the more you remember, the less work you have to do. Let's face it. You sit down to write a typical physics exam and you have 50 minutes to solve 3 to 5 problems. You have to be fast. If you can avoid it,... read more
Suppose a frog gets launched vertically into the air as this frog did during the launch of NASA's LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer) spacecraft: http://www.universetoday.com/104679/absolutely-incredible-photo-frog-launches-with-ladee/ A NASA scientist gives you the task of calculating the frog's initial launch velocity provided by the spacecraft blast. You only know one piece of information: the frog reaches a maximum height of 100m. What do you do? Assuming the frog's motion is perfectly vertical (unrealistic, but let's go with it), you could use one of the many kinematic equations for one dimensional motion with constant acceleration: xf-xi=(1/2)(vf+vi)t vf=vi+at xf-xi=vi+(1/2)at2 vf2=vi2+2a(xf-xi) But which one to use? We know xf-xi=100m. We also know that when the frog reaches his maximum height, he has a final velocity of zero, vf=0. Additionally, we know that once the frog leaves the ground, he has a constant... read more
As students, we're often confused. And we don't like it. We think we shouldn't be confused. Maybe we think it says something about how smart we are that we have trouble understanding. But think about it: when we're trying to learn something new, we're automatically in the space between what we know and what we don't. It's natural to be confused. Here is a short video of Richard Feynman, the Nobel Prize winning physicist, talking about the feeling of confusion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14ToSwTAgT4 Everyone feels confused. Looking on the bright side, maybe it means you're about to learn something. So get used to it. It's ok, really.
During the first week or so of your physics class, your teacher will most likely talk about the various length scales present in the universe. These length scales range from very small elementary particles such as electrons, protons, and neutrons with widths of ~5x10-15 meters, to the width of our very own galaxy the Milky Way of ~1.2x1021 meters. Physicists study all of these length scales, with quantum mechanics studying physical phenomena at microscopic scales, and astrophysics studying the very large objects scattered throughout the universe. When scientists talk about orders of magnitude, what they are really referring to is the relative difference between two numbers in their power of ten. For instance, the difference in the power of ten between the width of an elementary particle and the width of the Milky Way is 36 (21-(-15)=36), so we say that these length scales are separated by 36 orders of magnitude. Physics truly studies all physical length scales in the... read more
My favorite tutoring experience has been running intensive seminar courses in Chemistry and Physics. I was given free reign to develop all course content: including lectures, quizzes, homework assignments, and laboratory experiments. During this course, I taught Chemistry and Physics from a high-level perspective, introducing, comparing, and contrasting the Periodic Table of Elements and the basics of the Standard Model of Physics. I focused on the what Roger Penrose calls The Three Realms of Reality; the Gravitational interaction; the history of Physics, Chemistry and Astronomy; the formation of the nucleus through Nucleosynthesis; Quantum Chemistry and the Aufbau Principle; basic Electrodynamics; and Newton's Laws of Motion. At the end of the course, students were to present a power point presentation on a topic of their interest, and turn in an accompanying thesis. One of my students, just entering high school, wrote about the creation of a Bose Einstein Condensate (a... read more
Quickly, think about your first answer to this question. What's the magnetism of earth's magnetic field at our geographic North Pole? I recently watched a video of Minute Earth on YouTube saying how earth's atmosphere is escaping. In it, the artist/scientist drew the earth with its normal magnetic field. And that got me thinking about an age-old problem that I've seen online. So horrible of a problem in fact that I've had to write a letter to NOAA, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (not the guy from the Bible), to correct a problem that they had on their website. So, hold onto your hats folks, because we're going to dive into magnetism. In elementary school we were all introduced to the basics of magnetism. Opposite poles attract, and like poles repel. The red ends of the magnet, commonly the north ends, would rather hang out with the south ends of a magnet, commonly the white ends. This is a concept that seems simple to most of us, and it is... read more
Hey everyone! I just recently graduated from Stanford University this June and I will be home in Arizona for the rest of the summer! If any of you need tutoring help in SAT, ACT, or a variety of Math, Science, and Verbal subjects feel free to contact me! I try to make our tutoring sessions as productive and fun as possible, while ensuring that you reach your academic goals! I am also open to helping you navigate your college or carer goals! Let me know if you would like to work with me! Best, Jayce
Humans have a tremendous capacity to learn and adapt. However, we consistently build barriers that hinder our natural ability to change and grow. Many people, regardless of age, perceive themselves as not being talented enough to excel at math and science. They view math and science as the realms in which only scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and geniuses truly soar. Nothing could be further than the truth. Sure, possessing a natural affinity towards these subjects helps. Yet, a supposed lack of talent does not prevent you from learning. The path may be more arduous. The journey may be longer. Nevertheless, you possess within you the fire to endure. Willpower, dedication, self belief, and an open mind can compensate for any lack of ability. Bruce Lee was a legendary martial artist, actor, and philosopher who continues to inspire millions with the sheer intensity which he pursued his endeavors. Frail, sickly, and small as a child, Bruce Lee overcame many physical... read more
Greetings Wyzant community, prospective students, fellow tutors: I have just returned from my studies abroad and am ready to begin teaching again. Please take a look at my profile. My education ranges from my Masters in Physics, to my undergrad degrees in physics, biology and music. I just completed the coursework for a masters program in peace and conflict resolution as well. Aside from know knowledge and experience teaching, I think I possess a very good ability to understand the different ways students learn. This helps me to engage with them in a way that is most effective for them. Not only does it help to comprehend the material for the subjects they are learning but it also helps them to develop a wisdom and intuition for further (creative) learning and a strategic approach towards test taking. I'm looking forward to working with all of you. Don't hesitate to contact me for any reason...
When someone is interested in a topic, there is a heavy intuitive knowledge associated with that interest. A good musician intuitively knows what would be enjoyable to their target audience; a good fashion designer intuitively knows what would be fashionable for the next season; a good personal trainer knows intuitively how to work a particular person with a particular body and a particular mentality to make that person more active and more healthy. In all of these fields and any field you can think of, there is a certain amount of memorization required, a certain set of rules to follow, but is mainly following personal intuition within that field. Science and math works the same way. Sure, there is a certain amount of memorization involved – terms, history, phrases – but there is a certain amount of intuition involved. There is a logic behind every concept in all of science and math, regardless of terms and phrases. This logic has its beginnings in the appropriate intuition... read more
Hello, if you are a student frantically searching for help with a math problem, take a second here and I will repost answers to any MATH related questions you may have.
What does physics and martial arts have in common? A lot, actually. For instance, the formula for Force is F=ma^2, where F is Force, m is Mass and a is Acceleration. Now think this through. If an individual bulks up his mass and doubles it, what does that do for his strength? It effectively doubles it. But what if he doubles his acceleration, his speed, per se? His force quadruples! When you get into larger numbers like 3 and 4, the effect is even more pronounced. So that is the reason that Bruce Lee is more deadly than some bulky slow weight lifter (not that you want to mess with either one, however). When you increase your speed, the effect on your force is maximized. You fellow martial artists may have known the principle behind this but now you know the science! And you physicists may have known the formula already. But now you know the cool application of it. Who knows? It could come in useful if you get bullied around.