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Activities

Small Group Activity

120 min.

##### Box Sliding Down Frictionless Wedge
Students solve for the equations of motion of a box sliding down (frictionlessly) a wedge, which itself slides on a horizontal surface, in order to answer the question "how much time does it take for the box to slide a distance $d$ down the wedge?". This activities highlights finding kinetic energies when the coordinate system is not orthonormal and checking special cases, functional behavior, and dimensions.
• Found in: Theoretical Mechanics course(s)

Kinesthetic

5 min.

##### Time Dilation Light Clock Skit
Students act out the classic light clock scenario for deriving time dilation.

Small White Board Question

10 min.

##### Possible Worldlines
Student consider several curves on a spacetime diagram and have to judge which curves could be worldlines for an object.
• Found in: Theoretical Mechanics course(s)

Small White Board Question

10 min.

##### Time Dilation
• Found in: Theoretical Mechanics course(s)

Lecture

30 min.

##### Lorentz Transformation (Geometric)
In this lecture, students see a geometric derivation of the Lorentz Transformation on a spacetime diagram.
• Found in: Theoretical Mechanics course(s)

Small Group Activity

5 min.

##### Events on Spacetime Diagrams
Students practice identifying whether events on spacetime diagrams are simultaneous, colocated, or neither for different observers. Then students decide which of two events occurs first in two different reference frames.
• Found in: Theoretical Mechanics course(s)

Small Group Activity

30 min.

##### Right Angles on Spacetime Diagrams
Students take the inner product of vectors that lie on the spacetime axis to show that they are orthogonal. To do the inner product, students much use the Minkowski metric.
• Found in: Theoretical Mechanics course(s)

Problem

5 min.

##### Events on Spacetime Diagrams
1. Which pairs of events (if any) are simultaneous in the unprimed frame?

2. Which pairs of events (if any) are simultaneous in the primed frame?

3. Which pairs of events (if any) are colocated in the unprimed frame?

4. Which pairs of events (if any) are colocated in the primed frame?

1. For each of the figures, answer the following questions:
1. Which event occurs first in the unprimed frame?

2. Which event occurs first in the primed frame?

• Found in: Theoretical Mechanics course(s)

Small Group Activity

60 min.

##### Electrostatic Potential Due to a Pair of Charges (with Series)
Students work in small groups to use the superposition principle $V(\vec{r}) = \frac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0}\sum_i \frac{q_i}{\vert\vec{r}-\vec{r}_i\vert}$ to find the electrostatic potential $V$ everywhere in space due to a pair of charges (either identical charges or a dipole). Different groups are assigned different arrangements of charges and different regions of space to consider: either on the axis of the charges or in the plane equidistant from the two charges, for either small or large values of the relevant geometric variable. Each group is asked to find a power series expansion for the electrostatic potential, valid in their group's assigned region of space. The whole class wrap-up discussion then compares and contrasts the results and discuss the symmetries of the two cases.
• Found in: Static Fields, AIMS Maxwell, Problem-Solving course(s) Found in: Power Series Sequence (E&M), E&M Ring Cycle Sequence sequence(s)

Quiz

60 min.

##### Free expansion
Students will determine the change in entropy (positive, negative, or none) for both the system and surroundings in three different cases. This is followed by an active whole-class discussion about where the entropy comes from during an irreversible process.
• Found in: Energy and Entropy course(s)

Small Group Activity

30 min.

##### Electrostatic Potential Due to a Pair of Charges (without Series)
Students work in small groups to use the superposition principle $V(\vec{r}) = \frac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0}\sum_i \frac{q_i}{\vert\vec{r}-\vec{r}_i\vert}$ to find the electrostatic potential $V$ everywhere in space due to a pair of charges (either identical charges or a dipole). This activity can be paired with activity 29 to find the limiting cases of the potential on the axes of symmetry.
• Found in: AIMS Maxwell, Static Fields, Problem-Solving course(s)