Reading Assignments

It is *absolutely* necessary to make good friends with your textbook. You should know everything about it, where to find information and critical facts. You must become completely familiar with it – to annotate and develop it so completely that you have extracted every last microgram of potential knowledge out of it – you should be able to turn to any piece of information without consulting the table of contents or the index.

But that is not enough. Not nearly enough – because Physics is not an “open book” subject – you can’t bring the textbook into (most) assessment tasks. (p.s. this is something to be very thankful for – you will discover (in time) that “open book” is the nastiest thing that any teacher of any subject can do to you…). You need to understand the difference between active and passive knowledge – and you *need* to make your knowledge of physics *active*

Passive knowledge is the sort of understanding of a topic you have when an expert explains it to you, and you feel that it makes sense. Active knowledge is when you can explain the knowledge that you have to someone else in a way that they understand it – and that you can use the knowledge you have to solve problems and apply it to a variety of unfamiliar contexts.

It has become apparent that many of you have “passive knowledge”. That is not what you must have to succeed in your studies of Physics. Passive knowledge is an important first step, but you must go beyond this is you wish to pass. This semester, we will be taking some steps together to help each of you to move further than you currently are on the  Passive-Active spectrum, and the first of these steps are the reading assignments.

Let me be absolutely clear here:

Reading assignments are Work Requirements: They must be completed in order to earn a satisfactory result.

The requirement on all students is that they read the assigned sections of text (which will mostly come from the primary textbook), and complete a section of notes with the following subheadings:

  1. Keywords: This is simply a list of critical terms – new words and important vocabulary. This will become the basis for your glossary.
  2. Concepts: A dot point list of important ideas – this may include definitions, formulas, critical events, natural phenomena, relevant findings, names of scientists and their findings, applications of theories, examples of techniques.
  3. Questions: This is where you list things that don’t make sense or are not clear to you.
  4. Answers: Initially, leave this area blank. There will be a variety of ways we work on completing this section of your notes.
  5. 100 word summary: After you have your answers completed, using no more than 100 words, summarise the section.

Sample Note sheet:

View this document on Scribd

Please be aware – completing this process will not “magically” make your knowledge of physics *active* – but it is a necessary first step. We are working on ensuring that you “know what you don’t know” – without this you cannot improve. You will be assessed (interrogated!) about your process and development of knowledge regularly, both individually and communally, in person and online.

You have already been assigned your first reading assignment – you should have completed the notes for that; I have looked and seen what most of you have, but I have not recorded it as Satisfactory/ Not Satisfactory yet. That will be done on the first lesson of term 3. The second reading assignment will be due on the first lesson of the second week. The first reading assignment assessment will also be during that week.

Details of the Reading Assignment 2:

Year 11: Chapters on Graphing Motion (5.2), Equations of Motion (5.3), and Vertical Motion under Gravity (5.4) (one note sheet each).

Year 12: 9.2 to 9.5 (inclusive) (one note sheet for sections 9.2 & 9.3, one note sheet for 9.4 & 9.5

Remember how to read!

  1. Get your note sheet, pen, highlighter, and book tabs (if you have some) and textbook.
  2. Go to a quiet place – no music (take your earphones OUT!), no distraction – somewhere private. The library is great if you don’t have space at home.
  3. Set aside TIME! You will need (at the start) at least one hour per note sheet.
  4. With a pencil in hand, read the section once without trying to make any notes. Underline any words you don’t know and need to look up.
  5. Read all sections – the main text, any sidebars, captions to pictures, etc. Remember that diagrams are part of the text!
  6. Stop and think about what you have read. You might want to re-read part of it again.
  7. Look up the definition of any words you underlined in the textbook glossary or a *physics* dictionary first (1, 2). Be careful; if the explanation seems “too complex” it may be (put it into the questions section). After consulting the physics dictionary, use a standard English dictionary if you need to.
  8. Pick up your highlighter. Read the section again, this time marking the most important words, concepts and sections. YOU SHOULD NEVER HIGHLIGHT MORE THAN A SINGLE SENTENCE IN A PARAGRAPH! you may want to use different colours of highlighter to indicate different types of content (keywords, concepts, examples, general “cool stuff”)
  9. Read the section again – just the highlighted parts. Did you miss anything important?
  10. Get your note sheet ready – fill in the header section (text, pages, date)
  11. Fill in the keywords and concepts sections
  12. If everything makes complete sense at this point, you’re (probably) doing something wrong! In the questions section place anything you don’t understand, or even just want to confirm your understanding.
  13. You don’t have to fill out the answers section at this time.

More to come later – check back for updates!



Explore posts in the same categories: Assessment, Physics, Year 11, Year 12

3 Comments on “Reading Assignments”

  1. Tim Jackson Says:

    Mr G. this is in regards to the Ticker Tape Prac.

    I’m not sure how to findthe following, i know that average acceleration is change in velocity/time taken but i still cant figure out what colums to use from my spreadsheet:
    -Delta Vel
    – Inst Acceleration
    -Ave Acceleration

    • CyberChalky Says:

      Hi Tim,

      Hope you’re having good holidays.
      For Delta Velocity (change in velocity), there are two types – instantaneous and average.
      Instantaneous is merely the difference between the current interval’s calculated velocity and the last interval’s velocity.
      Average is the difference between the current and zero.
      Instantaneous acceleration is the instantaneous delta v / 0.1 (one interval’s length of time)
      Average acceleration is the average delta v / time so far (total time to this point)

      Hope that helps.

  2. Locky Hampton Says:

    Hey Mr.G, this is regarding the questions you set for us last lesson about the car and bike in which we had to find the impulse of both.

    So impulse is change in momentum, but dont we need a time given to calculate the impulse and force ? So im asking what was the delta time for the collision?

    Car: mass= 2250 , velocity= 13.8 m/s
    Bike: mass =350 kg , velocity= 50 m/s

    So could you give me time so i can complete the questions,l and find the impulse and force?

    Thankyou 🙂

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