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Students come to physics with preconceptions from everyday experiences and from previous courses. Some of these preconceptions are misconceptions, and many are very common among students and the general public. Some are inadvertently picked up through misunderstandings of lectures and texts. The Misconception Alerts feature is designed to point these out and correct them explicitly.
Take Home Investigations provide the opportunity for students to apply or explore what they have learned with a hands-on activity.
In these special topic essays, macroscopic phenomena (such as air pressure) are explained with submicroscopic phenomena (such as atoms bouncing off walls). These essays support the modern perspective by describing aspects of modern physics before they are formally treated in later chapters. Connections are also made between apparently disparate phenomena.
Where applicable, students are directed to the interactive PHeT physics simulations developed by the University of Colorado ( (External Link) ). There they can further explore the physics concepts they have learned about in the module.
Module summaries are thorough and functional and present all important definitions and equations. Students are able to find the definitions of all terms and symbols as well as their physical relationships. The structure of the summary makes plain the fundamental principles of the module or collection and serves as a useful study guide.
At the end of every module or chapter is a glossary containing definitions of all of the key terms in the module or chapter.
At the end of every chapter is a set of Conceptual Questions and/or skills-based Problems&Exercises. Conceptual Questions challenge students’ ability to explain what they have learned conceptually, independent of the mathematical details. Problems&Exercises challenge students to apply both concepts and skills to solve mathematical physics problems. Online, every other problem includes an answer that students can reveal immediately by clicking on a “Show Solution” button. Fully worked solutions to select problems are available in the Student Solutions Manual and the Teacher Solutions Manual.
In addition to traditional skills-based problems, there are three special types of end-of-module problems: Integrated Concept Problems, Unreasonable Results Problems, and Construct Your Own Problems. All of these problems are indicated with a subtitle preceding the problem.
In Integrated Concept Problems, students are asked to apply what they have learned about two or more concepts to arrive at a solution to a problem. These problems require a higher level of thinking because, before solving a problem, students have to recognize the combination of strategies required to solve it.
In Unreasonable Results Problems, students are challenged to not only apply concepts and skills to solve a problem, but also to analyze the answer with respect to how likely or realistic it really is. These problems contain a premise that produces an unreasonable answer and are designed to further emphasize that properly applied physics must describe nature accurately and is not simply the process of solving equations.
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