List of chapters

Chapter 1: Structure / General Information


Table of Contents

Structure of the individual chapters
Treatment of mathematical aspects
Integration of Simulation and Experiment.
Measurements and Units
Protocol Templates

Structure of the individual chapters

The presented course material is divided in single chapters with the same structure, as shown in the following diagram.

 When developing this structure the following rules have been applied:

 

This structure should guide the user to take note of the list of content after each single unit has been finished. By doing so the danger for losing orientation should be reduced,

Treatment of mathematical aspects

The material presented here for teaching, learning and practising is based on an alternative approach in comparison to traditional teaching. A main aspect of this new approach can be characterised by a different role of mathematical methods and tools. As much as possible it has been avoided to rely on mathematical knowledge as prerequisite for understanding. Interactive simulations in combination with animated computer graphics are used to lead towards abstraction and to lay the foundations for understanding

 Following this principle mathematical equations are not derived from theory when introduce but directly presented. In comparing these mathematical expressions with the results presented by the simulation the students shall get acquainted with these results.

In a final chapter the mathematical definitions and derivations are presented

 

Integration of Simulation and Experiment.

When using the materials presented here, it is taken for granted that real experiments are demonstrated and carried out in class when ever feasible. It is in principle a rather trivial fact that a simulation cannot prove anything but needs the proof and support of the real experiment. The teacher has to point to this fact and probably more than once to assure that students due not stick to any naive and non-reflected opinions about simulations and their relations towards reality.

To integrate simulations and reality is an important task. Its realization is strongly depending on the actual situation and the actual content under study. To support this task it is planned to develop a series of short video sequences which can be loaded at any time.

Measurements and Units

If a measurement is carried out in a real experiment it is certainly necessary to note the actual value measured together with the units used. However, this demand can be partly neglected when processing the data, if only the adequate units have been determined at the beginning.

When using a simulation with output in numerical form, the choice of the units is in principle free. For the program xyZET for instance, the defined unit for distance corresponds to something like 1/10 mm, depending on the available solution of the monitor. This unit can represent any distance in real life. The same is true for other numerical values for time, mass, charge a.o.

Before using such numerical values presented by a simulation, an agreements has to be found about the units to be used. For a better agreement with the system of units used in the scientific community it is obviously helpful to chose the common basic units like m, s, kg and the derived units like N or m/s.

Protocol Templates

For most of the following chapters a protocol template is added to support the learner when working on the assignments. It is supposed that a hardcopy of these protocols is provided to be filled out by the learner. The results of these protocols should be discussed with the teacher.
 

List of chapters