Monday, January 08, 2007

Some high school physics..

Well, over the past few months, I've decided teaching is a good route to go.

Teach what? Physics ("main" teachable) and math (other teachable) is what I'm qualified for.

Then reading the gr 12A physics curriculum, realizing it's much more detailed than the gr 13 (OAC) I took a ways back.

Infact, it now includes topics on general relativity and quantum mechanics - of which I know mostly superficially.

However, I know a ton about EM stuff. I'm kind of excited to eventually build a whole bunch of simple EM machines, including:

-Tesla coil
-home built dc motor to explain motor principle.
-home built AC motor/generator to explain generation.
- Rail gun (would be good for part on projectile motion as well).

Ideally, in any science or engineering, you should demonstrate as many concepts as possible with real devices. Understanding the underlying math is great, but nothing beats a working demo to get the ideas to click in the most students head.

Einstein's theory of relativity is really, really profound, the more and more you read about the implications of this theory (of which, apparently, I only know the "special" or "simpler" theory of relativity).

With his theory:
-Everyone views the speed of light as the same speed, irregardless of their relative speed
- i.e. if light was a speed car, it would appear to be going the same speed to you regardless if you were following said car or heading right head on for it (which is not normally the case).

-Electricity and magnetism are essentially the same thing, just "time/space shifted".

-Matter is energy, E=mc^2

I've gotten myself to accept "modern physics", ie quantum theory and general relativity. You pretty much have to accept these, and it's nice to know a bit about them, as modern technology depends on them: without these, we'd have no advanced transistors, thus no uber computers, no satellites, as they wouldn't be able to keep themselves correctly in orbit.)

This new string theory with 11 dimensions is beyond me, though.


At 6:25 PM, Blogger Zutroy said...

Actually our OAC curriculum did include General and Special Relativity, and probably mentions basic Quantum Mechanics (I for a fact remember Mancina mentioning the Uncertainty Principle). The problem is that they are such late units that our teachers usually just chopped them out for lack of time. You should know by now that its a common practice.

Since I just unpacked them recently I actually took out my 12 and OAC Physics notes (yeah I kept them for some reason) to look at the syllabus.

OAC Physics:
- Forces and Motion: Dynamics (Kinematics and Statics)
- Energy and Momentum (Linear Momentum, Energy Transfer, and Angular Motion)
- Electric, Gravitational and Magnetic Fields (Electrostatics and Electrics and Electric Fields, Magnetic Fields and Field Theory)

That's where OAC physics ended for us, though the Syllabus also had the following after:

- The Wave Nature of Light (including Electromagnetic wave interaction)
- Matter-Energy Interface (Special Theory of Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and the Atom, The Nucleus and Elementary Particles)

At 9:20 AM, Blogger James said...

Our OAC curriculum included early Wednesday dismissal because it was Veal day in the cafeteria. :)

Regarding string theory, it's actually pretty interesting. Nova has an excellent special on it that I saw a couple years ago, it's really well done.

You can watch the whole thing at


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