Teaching and Learning Physics
week 13 assignments

Tues 11/15: Social, Political and Economic Backdrop to physics education

Mahajan, "Physics Education Research: Or it's so hard to find good help these days" a paper from the AAPT 2004 national conference (5 pages)

Fish "Why We Built the Ivory Tower " an editorial from the NY Times (2 pages)

Albert A. Bartlett- Thoughts on Long−Term Energy Supplies: Scientists and the Silent Lie
The world's population continues to grow. Shouldn't physicists care? — Physics Today July 2004 (3 pages) [if you're not a Physics Today subscriber use this link]

Rosenberg, "Questioning Assumptions about the Role of Education in American Society: A Review of Schooling in Capitalist America", (optional) a paper from the Physics Education Research Conference 2003.

Paul B. Weisz -(optional) Basic Choices and Constraints on Long−Term Energy Supplies - Physics Today July 2004

3 questions / observations only.

Thurs 11/17: Framing physics problems in a social relevant context.

Design or critique 3 order of magnitude physics problems that relate physics, students, and the world at large. Describe why these problems achieve their goal. You may use materials from any text or from Sanjoy Mahajan's Order of Magnitude Physics Site.


Examine your text for what sorts of social, political, economic goals are embedded or absent in the text.


Examine an entire course that may or may not be applying some of these ideas. Some relevant sites:

Physics 1020 from last year (taught by NF)

Phys 3070 (energy and the evironment, taught by SJP)

The Science and Society Course at the University of Ottawa (SEE WHAT HAPPENED.... or instead read a bit about his background and proposal for teaching)