CU Upper-Level Mechanics and Math Methods Curriculum

Developed by: Danny Caballero, Rachel Pepper, Steve Pollock, and many others in the University of Colorado Boulder PER group and physics department

middle schoolhigh schoolintro collegeinter-mediateupper levelgrad school   other

Mechanics  Mathematical
Lecture - Large (30+ students)  Lecture - Small (<30 students)  Homework

What? Supplementary activities for upper-level CM. Includes learning goals, interactive lectures, homework problems, student difficulties, tutorials, in-class group activities, and clicker questions. All materials are modular and can be mixed and matched with other teaching strategies or materials.

Student skills developed

Designed for:
  • Conceptual understanding
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Using multiple representations
Can be adapted for:
  • Making real-world connections
  • Metacognition

Instructor effort required

  • Medium

Resources required

  • TAs / LAs
  • Clickers / polling method
  • Projector

Intro Article: S. Pollock, R. Pepper, and A. Marino, Issues and Progress in Transforming a Middle-division Classical Mechanics/Math Methods Course, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2011, Omaha, Nebraska, 2011.

You can download all course materials for free, including lecture slides, clicker questions, homework, exams, and solutions from the developer's website (you'll need to ask for a password to access solutions).

Bronze Validation
This is the third highest level of research validation, corresponding to:
  • at least 1 of the "based on" categories
  • at least 1 of the "demonstrated to improve" categories
  • at least 1 of the "studied using" categories
(Categories shown below)

Research Validation Summary

Based on Research Into:

  • theories of how students learn
  • student ideas about specific topics

Demonstrated to Improve:

  • conceptual understanding
  • problem-solving skills
  • lab skills
  • beliefs and attitudes
  • attendance
  • retention of students
  • success of underrepresented groups
  • performance in subsequent classes

Studied using:

  • cycle of research and redevelopment
  • student interviews
  • classroom observations
  • analysis of written work
  • research at multiple institutions
  • research by multiple groups
  • peer-reviewed publication