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30 November 2011

Static Fluids with Quantitative Demonstrations -- Detailed Class Notes

What's the buoyant force on a lionfish?  I ain't doing this
demo, but you can see the demonstrations I do do at  this link.
Regular readers are probably aware that my typical class period consists of one or more quantitative demonstrations -- I don't just solve an abstract example problem from a book, I physically set up the example problem as an in-class experiment.  Any calculation we make in class is verified by measurement. 

One of the questions I'm most asked is, "Do you have a list or writeup of all of your quantitative demonstrations?"  Unfortunately, I don't.  When a publisher (or the NSF) offers me a five figure advance, I'll consider writing a book.  

Until that glorious day, you ask, where do I look to find quantitative demonstration ideas?  Well, start by searching through this very blog, of course.  Sign up for one of my AP Summer Institutes (I'm doing four, I think, in 2012).  Every time you're choosing an example problem to use in your class lecture, think, "could I set this up in my classroom?"  Use a homework problem as the basis for a laboratory activity, and make your students create the setup.  Talk to other physics teachers, including those who are listed as followers of this very blog.  

Now, if you'd like an extraordinarily detailed description of what a class with quantitative demonstrations might look like, check out this piece I wrote for the College Board a few years ago.  They asked me to provide a "lesson plan" for AP-level static fluids.  I described each experiment, each check-your-neighbor question, each measurement that I make during class.  (If you've been to a summer institute, you'll recognize a few of these demonstrations.)

Do you have a quantitative demonstration that you use in class?  Tell me about it.  I'm open to guest posters on this blog...

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