Saturday, January 31, 2009

On to electricity, magnetism, light, and optics

At the risk of repeating this post, let me tell you where I am as we head into the second semester.

In our first semester at Rio, we cover motion, Newton's laws, UCM & gravity, momentum, energy, and heat. That is, everything that the state of California spell out in the first three of five content standard sets devoted to 9-12 Physics. "Motion and Forces," "Conservation of Energy and Momentum," and "Heat and Thermodynamics" are done.

In second semester, we cover "Electric and Magnetic Phenomena," and "Waves." There's plenty to do in those areas, and we're never done with all of it by the April CST administration.

But I would kindly suggest that if you're still meandering through mechanics when second semester hits, you don't stand a chance of making it through the state's prescribed content. I know at least one or two physics teachers for whom that is not a concern. They express their distaste for statewide standards and assessment by disregarding them completely.That's not a path I would recommend. To each his (or her) own, I suppose.

2 comments:

Tim Forth said...

I'm intrigued that you are going on to optics. I thought that it isn't in the standards.

Dean Baird said...

Geometric optics is not something that the state of California needs its high school physics students to know.

It does want them to know about the wave nature of electromagnetic radiation.

From the Waves Standard set:

e. Students know radio waves, light, and X-rays are different wavelength bands in the spectrum of electromagnetic waves whose speed in a vacuum is approximately 3.0 × 10^8 m/s (186,000 miles/second).

f. Students know how to identify the characteristic properties of waves: interference (beats), diffraction, refraction, Doppler effect, and polarization.