Essential College Physics, Volume 1
During the three decades we have been teaching physics, algebra-based physics textbooks have grown in length, complexity, and price. We ve reached the point where textbooks can be overwhelming to students, many of whom are taking physics as a requirement for another major or profession and will never take another physics class. And yet, we ve also seen many students in the algebra-based course who are eager to learn how physics explains what they see in their everyday lives, how it connects to other disciplines, and how exciting new ideas in physics can be.
A Concise and Focused Book
The first thing you ll notice about this book is that it s more concise than most algebrabased textbooks. We believe it is possible to provide a shorter, more focused text that better addresses the learning needs of today s students while more effectively guiding them through the mastery of physics. The language is concise and engaging without sacrificing depth. Brevity needn t come at the expense of student learning! We ve designed our text from the ground up to be concise and focused, rather than cutting down a longer book. Students will find the resulting book less intimidating and easier to use, with well coordinated narrative, instructional art program, and worked examples.
A Connected Approach
In addition to making the volume of the book less overwhelming, we ve stressed connections, to reinforce students understanding and to combat the preconception that physics is just a long list of facts and formulas.
Connecting ideas The organization of topics and the narrative itself stress the connections between ideas. Whenever possible, the narrative points directly to a worked example or to the next section. A worked example can serve as a bridge, not only to the preceding material it is being used to illustrate, but also forward by introducing a new idea that is then explicated in the following section. These bridges work both ways; the text is always looking forward and back to exploit the rich trail of connections that exist throughout physics.
Connecting physics with the real world Instead of simply stating the facts of physics and backing them up with examples, the book develops some key concepts from observations of real-world phenomena. This approach helps students to understand what physics is and how it relates to their lives. In addition, numerous examples and applications help students explore the ideas of physics as they relate to the real world. Connections are made to phenomena that will engage the students applications from everyday life (heating a home, the physics of flight, DVDs, hybrid vehicles, and many more), from biomedicine (pacemakers, blood flow, cell membranes, medical imaging), and from cutting-edge research in science and technology (superconductivity, nanotechnology, ultracapacitors). These applications can be used to motivate interest in particular topics in physics, or they might emerge from learning a new physics topic. One thing leads to another. What results is a continuous story of physics, seen as a seamless whole rather than an encyclopedia of facts to be memorized.
Connecting words and math In the same way, we stress the connections between the ideas of physics and their mathematical expression. Equations are statements about physics sentences, really not magical formulae. In algebra-based physics, it s important to stress the basics but not the myriad details that cloud the issues for those new to the subject. We ve reduced the number of enumerated equations, to make the essentials clearer.
Connecting with how students learn Conceptual worked examples and end-of-chapter problems are designed to help students explore and master the qualitative ideas developed in the text. Some conceptual examples are linked with numerical examples that precede or follow them, linking qualitative and quantitative reasoning skills. Follow-up exercises to worked examples ( Making the Connection ) prompt students to explore further, while Got It? questions (short concept-check questions found at the end of text sections) help ensure a key idea is grasped before the student moves on.
Students benefit from a structured learning path clear goals set out at the start, reinforcement of new ideas throughout, and a strategic summary to wrap up. With these aids in place, students build a solid foundation of understanding. We therefore carefully structure the chapters with learning goals, Reviewing new concepts reminders, and visual chapter summaries.
Connecting with how students use their textbook Many students find using a textbook to be a chore, either because English is not their first language or because their reading skills are weak or their time limited. Even students who read with ease prefer their explanations lucid and brief, and they expect key information to be easy to find. Our goal, therefore, is a text that is clear, concise, and focused, with easy-to-find reference material, tips, and examples. The manageable size of the book makes it less intimidating to open and easier to take to class.
To complement verbal explanations in the text, the art program puts considerable information directly on the art in the form of explanatory labels and author s voice commentary. Thus, students can use the text and art as parallel, complementary ways to understand the material. The text tells them more, but often the illustrations will prove more memorable and will serve as keys for recalling information. In addition, a student who has difficulty with the text can turn to the art for help.
Connecting the chapters with homework After reading a chapter, students need to be able to reason their way through homework problems with some confidence that they will succeed. A textbook can help by consistently demonstrating and modeling how an expert goes about solving a problem, by giving clear tips and tactics, and by providing opportunities for practice. Given how important it is for students to become proficient at solving problems, a detailed explanation of how our textbook will help them is provided below.
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