The Physics Suite

In 1997 and 1998,Wiley's physics editor, Stuart Johnson, and an informally constituted group of curriculum developers and educational reformers known as the Activity Based Physics Group began discussing the feasibility of integrating a broad array of curricular materials that are physics education research-based. This led to the assembly of the Activity Based Physics Suite. The Physics Suite includes materials that can be combined flexibly to meet the needs of instructors working in vastly different learning environments. The Interactive Lecture Demonstration Series1 is designed primarily for use in lecture sessions. Other Suite materials can be used in laboratory settings including the Workshop Physics Activity Guide,2 the Real Time Physics Laboratory modules, 3 and Physics by Inquiry. 4 Additional elements in the collection are suitable for use in recitation sessions such as the University of Washington Tutorials in Introductory Physics (available from Prentice Hall)5 and a set of Quantitative Tutorials 6 developed at the University of Maryland. A textbook entitled Understanding Physics has been developed for use with the other Suite Materials.7 The Activity Based Physics Suite is rounded out with a collection of thinking problems, developed at the University of Maryland. A more detailed description of the Physics Suite elements follows.

Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite
RealTime Physics
Interactive Lecture Demonstrations
Workshop Physics
Tutorials in Introductory Physics
Physics by Inquiry
The Activity Based Physics Tutorials
Understanding Physics
The Understanding Physics Video CD for Students

Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite
by Edward F. Redish (University of Maryland).

This book is not only the "Instructors Manual" for Understanding Physics, but it is also a book for anyone who is interested in learning about recent developments in physics education. It is a handbook with a variety of tools for improving both teaching and learning of physics-from new kinds of homework and exam problems, to surveys for figuring out what has happened in your class, to tools for taking and analyzing data using computers and video. The book comes with a Resource CD containing 14 conceptual and 3 attitude surveys, and more than 250 thinking problems covering all areas of introductory physics, resource materials from commercial vendors on use of computerized data acquisition and video, and a variety of other useful reference materials. (Instructors can obtain a complimentary copy of the book and Resource CD, from John Wiley & Sons.)

RealTime Physics
by David Sokoloff (University of Oregon), Ron Thornton (Tufts University), and Priscilla Laws (Dickinson College).

RealTime Physics is a set of laboratory materials that uses computer-assisted data acquisition to help students build concepts, learn representation translation, and develop an understanding of the empirical base of physics knowledge. There are four modules in the collection: Module 1: Mechanics (12 labs), Module 2: Heat and Thermodynamics (6 labs), Module 3: Electricity and Magnetism (10 labs), and Module 4: Light and Optics (in production). (Available both in print and in electronic form from John Wiley & Sons.)

Interactive Lecture Demonstrations
by David Sokoloff (University of Oregon) and Ron Thornton (Tufts University).

ILDs are worksheet-based guided demonstrations designed to focus on fundamental principles and address specific naive conceptions. The demonstrations use computer-assisted data acquisition tools to collect and display high quality data in real time. Each ILD sequence is designed for delivery in a single lecture period. The demonstrations help students build concepts through a series of instructor led steps involving prediction, discussions with peers, viewing the demonstration and reflecting on its outcome.The ILD collection includes sequences in mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity, optics and more. (A set of mechanics ILD's is currently available from Vernier Software and Hardware. A more complete set of modules is currently in production at John Wiley & Sons. For more information, contact David Sokoloff at sokoloff@oregon.uoregon.edu)

Workshop Physics
by Priscilla Laws (Dickinson College).

Workshop Physics consists of a four part activity guide designed for use in calculus-based introductory physics courses.Workshop Physics courses are designed to replace traditional lecture and laboratory sessions. Students use computer tools for data acquisition, visualization, analysis and modeling. The tools include computer-assisted data acquisition software and hardware, digital video capture and analysis software, and spreadsheet software for analytic mathematical modeling. Modules include Classical Mechanics (Modules 1 & 2), Heat, Temperature and Nuclear Physics (Module 3), and Electricity & Magnetism (Module 4). (Available both in print from John Wiley & Sons and in electronic form on The Physics Suite CD.)

Tutorials in Introductory Physics
by Lillian C. McDermott, Peter S. Shaffer and the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington.

These tutorials consist of a set of worksheets designed to supplement instruction by lectures and textbook in standard introductory physics courses. Each tutorial is designed for use in a one-hour class session in a space where students can work in small groups using simple inexpensive apparatus. The emphasis in the tutorials is on helping students deepen their understanding of critical concepts and develop scientific reasoning skills. There are tutorials on mechanics, electricity and magnetism, waves, optics, and other selected topics. (Available in print from Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey)

Physics by Inquiry
by Lillian C. McDermott and the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington at the University of Washington.

This self-contained curriculum consists of a set of laboratory-based modules that emphasize the development of fundamental concepts and scientific reasoning skills. Beginning with their observations, students construct a coherent conceptual framework through guided inquiry. Only simple inexpensive apparatus and supplies are required. Developed primarily for the preparation of precollege teachers, the modules have also proved effective in courses for liberal arts students and for underprepared students. The amount of material is sufficient for two years of academic study. (Available in print from John Wiley & Sons.)

The Activity Based Physics Tutorials
by Edward F. Redish and the University of Maryland Physics Education Research Group.

These tutorials, like those developed at the University of Washington, consist of a set of worksheets developed to supplement lectures and textbook work in standard introductory physics courses. But, these tutorials integrate the computer software and hardware tools used in other Suite elements including computer data acquisition, digital video analysis, simulations, and spreadsheet analysis. Although these tutorials include a range of classical physics topics, they also include additional topics in modern physics. (Only available electronically from the University of Maryland Physics Education Research Group Website. A CD is being prepared by John Wiley & Sons for distribution of the Activity Based Physics Tutorials as part of the Physics Suite CD.)

Understanding Physics

This new text (which is based on the 6th Edition of Halliday, Resnick and Walker's Fundamentals of Physics) is designed for compatibility with other Activity Based Physics Suite elements. Authors Karen Cummings, Priscilla Laws, E.F. Redish and Pat Cooney have incorporated some new features including:

1. Stronger Storyline to link topics throughout text.
2. More emphasis on the observational basis of physics, including sample data acquired in introductory physics laboratories.
3. Narratives rewritten to address student learning difficulties.
4. Incorporation of Active Learning Opportunities.
5. Use of the New Mechanics Sequence.
6. Introduction of more systematic notation conventions.

Available in print from John Wiley and Sons, Inc.


The Understanding Physics Video CD for Students
by Priscilla Laws, et. al.

This CD contains a collection of the video clips that are introduced in Understanding Physics narrative and alternative problems. The CD includes a number of QuickTime movie segments of physical phenomena along with QuickTime player software and VideoPoint Lite analysis software. Students can view video clips as they read the text, reproduce data presented in text graphs or complete video analyses based on assignments designed by instructors. (In Production at John Wiley & Sons, for more information contact Priscilla Laws at lawsp@dickinson.edu)



1- David R. Sokoloff and Ronald K. Thornton, "Using Interactive Lecture Demonstrations to Create an Active Learning Environment." The Physics Teacher, 35, 340-347, September 1997.
2- Priscilla W. Laws,Workshop Physics Activity Guide, Modules 1-4 w/ Appendices (
John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1997).
3- David R. Sokoloff, RealTime Physics, Modules 1-2, (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1999).
4- Lillian C. McDermott and the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington, Physics by Inquiry (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1996).
5- Lillian C. McDermott, Peter S. Shaffer, and the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington, Tutorials in Introductory Physics, First Edition (Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River,NJ, 2002).
6- Richard N. Steinberg, Michael C.Wittmann, and Edward F. Redish, "Mathematical Tutorials in Introductory Physics," in, The Changing Role Of Physics Departments In Modern Universities, Edward F. Redish and John S. Rigden, editors, AIP Conference Proceedings 399, (AIP, Woodbury NY, 1997), 1075-1092.
7- K. Cummings, P. Laws, E.F. Redish, P.J. Cooney, Understanding Physics. (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 2004).