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*From*: "Paul Zitzewitz" <PZITZEWI@sb-f1.umd.umich.edu>*Date*: Mon, 1 Apr 1996 09:05:00 EDT

Al Clark wrote (in part)

At the least, I want to ask for recommendations of alternative textbooks

for general physics that pay more attention to problem solving skills, or

have a more effective approach to developing those skills, while still

providing a solid foundation in physics. I would also appreciate

information or references about teaching strategies that others have found

to be effective, what topics must be covered in general physics (and to

what depth), what topics can effectively be postponed to later, etc.

Thanks in advance.

I have been using Al Van Heuvelen's ALPS Kits (Active Learning

Problem Sets) for the past year in the mechanics half of this course.

The encourage (require) students to draw pictures, draw motion and

free-body diagrams, define symbols and coordinate systems, then

finally do the math, and at the end evaluate the solution. In

general they work well, especially for weaker students. By

emphasizing qualitative solutions, they strongly reduce the tendancy

of students to solve a problem by hunting for the correct equation.

On the other hand, they do slow down the course (probably a good

thing). The allow (encourage?) some students to avoid reading the

textbook and thus not get the broader approach and

theoretical/cultural introduction. They do not use graphical

techniques at all, nor do they do any calculus. While I like the

order of momentum and angular motion before work and energy, the

order is not supported by Halliday/Resnick/Walker.

On the whole, I would strongly recommend that you look at them.

Publisher is Hayden-McNeil 313 729-5550.

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