Note to Teachers
Part of my intention in creating this site is that you be able to borrow parts of it for your own classes. Unlike many lesson plan websites you will see, this website is being developed alongside a class that I am teaching to four different periods of students. There will be comments from me and my students on the lesson plans, describing what went well and what did not. You can be reassured immediately that some idea does or does not work well with actual students.
As you must know, most of what you do in class can't be recorded in a lesson plan. It simply comes out of you, and is more or less ad-libbed. So, don't try to reproduce exactly what I did in the classroom, even if I say that it went amazingly well. As T.S. Eliot says, "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal." I invite you to not just imitate what I do, but to steal it, make it your own, teach it in your own way.
Unless otherwise noted, anything on this site can be freely used and modified in any way you want, provided that it isn't included in any product that is being sold. Information wants to be free.
The philosophy behind this class is one of inquiry and experiment. At the beginning of the year, students learn how to use units to accurately guess what all the equations they might need during the year will be. As we get to each unit, they can discover the equations by their own inquiry. I want students to be able to look at some problem or situation, be interested in the causes behind it, and be able to discover for themselves why it works the way it does.
I focus on teaching the math skills, linking math for the first time in most students' experience to the actual problems and situations that that math was made to represent. I also focus on giving students an intuitive, conceptual understanding of the principles and quantities that we study, so that they can recognize, for example, why we bother to strictly define something like "energy," and where it can be seen in our reasoning about the world. It is this sort of intuitive understanding that make someone a physicist rather than a mathemetician with a lot of equations in their pocket.