Why we did this...

After years of teaching more or less traditional introductory physics courses, we found ourselves increasingly dissatisfied with our curriculum. Although efforts were made to use research-based pedagogy, the content and organizational framework of our introductory physics courses was similar to that laid out in most introductory textbooks. That is, our units were named for fundamental principles like forces, energy, momentum, etc. and practice problems involved primarily mechanical systems like blocks on ramps and masses on strings.

 

Year after year, these examples failed to engage our students to the degree we would like. Organizing physics content around fundamental principles makes sense to a physicist, but the power of viewing the world through this lens is not obvious to the average first year physics student.  

This curriculum is the result of what happened when we threw out the textbook and started from scratch.

Who we are...

Rachael Lancor

Rachael has a PhD in science education and a master's degree in physics. Currently, she is an Associate Professor of Physics and department chair at Edgewood College. In addition to teaching physics, she has also taught science education courses for pre-service teachers and facilitates faculty development workshops for STEM faculty.

Previously, Rachael taught high school physics and worked with kids of all ages around Wisconsin as part of the Wonders of Physics Traveling Show.

Brian Lancor

Brian has a PhD in atomic physics. After studying atoms by shining lasers at them for many years, Brian turned to the dark side and became a physics teacher. Brian is particularly interested in helping students develop mathematical and computational models in introductory physics. Brian is a Senior Lecturer in Physics at Edgewood College.

Fun fact: in a former life, Brian was an archaeologist. He also enjoys making liquid nitrogen ice cream.