Understanding Physics,1 edition
A physics major recently remarked that after struggling through the first half of his junior level mechanics course, he felt that the course was now going much better. What had changed? Did he have a better background in the material they were covering now? “No,” he responded. “I started reading the book before every class. That helps me a lot. I wish I had done it in Physics One and Two.” Clearly, this student learned something very important. It is something most physics instructors wish they could teach all of their students as soon as possible. Namely, no matter how smart your students are, no matter how well your introductory courses are designed and taught, your students will master more physics if they learn how to read an “understandable” textbook carefully.
We know from surveys that the vast majority of introductory physics students do not read their textbooks carefully. We think there are two major reasons why: (1) many students complain that physics textbooks are impossible to understand and too abstract, and (2) students are extremely busy juggling their academic work, jobs, personal obligations, social lives and interests. So they develop strategies for passing physics without spending time on careful reading.We address both of these reasons by making our revision to the sixth edition of Fundamentals of Physics easier for students to understand and by providing the instructor with more Reading Exercises (formerly known as Checkpoints) and additional strategies for encouraging students to read the text carefully. Fortunately, we are attempting to improve a fine textbook whose active author, Jearl Walker, has worked diligently to make each new edition more engaging and understandable.
In the next few sections we provide a summary of how we are building upon HRW 6th and shaping it into this new textbook.
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