title, topic, keyword
Small group, whiteboard, etc
Required in-class time for activities
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Activities

Kinesthetic

10 min.

##### Curvilinear Basis Vectors
Students use their arms to depict (sequentially) the different cylindrical and spherical basis vectors at the location of their shoulder (seen in relation to a specified origin of coordinates: either a set of axes hung from the ceiling of the room or perhaps a piece of furniture or a particular corner of the room).
• Found in: Static Fields, Central Forces, AIMS Maxwell, Surfaces/Bridge Workshop, Problem-Solving course(s) Found in: Geometry of Vector Fields Sequence, Curvilinear Coordinate Sequence sequence(s)

Small White Board Question

5 min.

##### Representations of Vectors
Students each recall a representation of vectors that they have seen before and record it on an individual whiteboard. The instructor uses these responses to generate a whole class discussion that compares and contrasts the features of the representations. If appropriate for the class, the instructor introduces bra/ket notation as a new, but valuable representation.
• Found in: AIMS Maxwell, Static Fields, Surfaces/Bridge Workshop, Problem-Solving course(s)

Kinesthetic

30 min.

##### Using Arms to Visualize Transformations of Complex Two-Component Vectors (MathBits)
Students, working in pairs, represent two component complex vectors with their left arms. Through a short series of instructor led prompts, students move their left arms to show how various linear transformations affect each complex component.
• Found in: Quantum Fundamentals course(s) Found in: Arms Sequence for Complex Numbers and Quantum States sequence(s)

Kinesthetic

10 min.

##### Spin 1/2 with Arms
Students, working in pairs, use their left arms to represent each component in a two-state quantum spin 1/2 system. Reinforces the idea that quantum states are complex valued vectors. Students make connections between Dirac, matrix, and Arms representation.
• Found in: Quantum Fundamentals course(s) Found in: Arms Sequence for Complex Numbers and Quantum States sequence(s)

Small Group Activity

10 min.

##### Angular Momentum in Polar Coordinates
Students learn how to express Angular Momentum as a vector quantity in polar coordinates, and then in Cylindrical and Spherical Coordinates
• Found in: Central Forces course(s)

Problem

##### Orthogonal
Consider the three quantum states: $\left\vert \psi_1\right\rangle = \frac{1}{\sqrt{3}}\left\vert +\right\rangle+ i\frac{\sqrt{2}}{\sqrt{3}} \left\vert -\right\rangle$ $\left\vert \psi_2\right\rangle = \frac{1}{\sqrt{5}}\left\vert +\right\rangle- \frac{2}{\sqrt{5}} \left\vert -\right\rangle$ $\left\vert \psi_3\right\rangle = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}\left\vert +\right\rangle+ i\frac{e^{\frac{i\pi}{4}}}{\sqrt{2}} \left\vert -\right\rangle$
1. For each of the $\vert \psi_i\rangle$ above, find the normalized vector $\vert \phi_i\rangle$ that is orthogonal to it.
2. Calculate the inner products $\langle \psi_i\vert \psi_j\rangle$ for $i$ and $j=1$, $2$, $3$.
• Found in: Quantum Fundamentals course(s)

Problem

5 min.

##### Orthogonal Brief

Consider the quantum state: $\left\vert \psi\right\rangle = \frac{1}{\sqrt{3}}\left\vert +\right\rangle+ i\frac{\sqrt{2}}{\sqrt{3}} \left\vert -\right\rangle$

Find the normalized vector $\vert \phi\rangle$ that is orthogonal to it.

• Found in: Quantum Fundamentals course(s)

Problem

5 min.

##### Vectors

Let \begin{align} \boldsymbol{\vec a} &= \boldsymbol{\hat x}-3\boldsymbol{\hat y}-\boldsymbol{\hat z}\\ \boldsymbol{\vec b} &= \boldsymbol{\hat x}+\boldsymbol{\hat y}+2\boldsymbol{\hat z}\\ {\boldsymbol{\vec c}} &= -2\boldsymbol{\hat x}-\boldsymbol{\hat y}+\boldsymbol{\hat z}\\ \boldsymbol{\vec d} &= -\boldsymbol{\hat x}-\boldsymbol{\hat y}+\boldsymbol{\hat z} \end{align}

Use the dot product to determine which pairs (if any) of these vectors

1. Are perpendicular?
2. Are parallel?
3. Have an angle less than $\pi/2$ between them?
4. Have an angle of more than $\pi/2$ between them?

• Found in: AIMS Maxwell, Static Fields, Problem-Solving course(s)

Small Group Activity

60 min.

##### Linear Transformations
Students explore what linear transformation matrices do to vectors. The whole class discussion compares & contrasts several different types of transformations (rotation, flip, projections, “scrinch”, scale) and how the properties of the matrices (the determinant, symmetries, which vectors are unchanged) are related to these transformations.
• Found in: Quantum Fundamentals course(s) Found in: Matrices & Operators sequence(s)

Kinesthetic

30 min.

##### The Distance Formula (Star Trek)
A short improvisational role-playing skit based on the Star Trek series in which students explore the definition and notation for position vectors, the importance of choosing an origin, and the geometric nature of the distance formula. $\vert\vec{r}-\vec{r}^\prime\vert=\sqrt{(x-x^\prime)^2+(y-y^\prime)^2-(z-z^\prime)^2}$
• Found in: Static Fields, AIMS Maxwell course(s) Found in: E&M Ring Cycle Sequence sequence(s)

Small Group Activity

30 min.

##### Finding Matrix Elements
In this small group activity, students multiply a general 3x3 matrix with standard basis row/column vectors to pick out individual matrix elements. Students generate the expressions for the matrix elements in bra/ket notation.
• Found in: Quantum Fundamentals 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

30 min.

##### Completeness Relation Change of Basis
Students practice using inner products to find the components of the cartesian basis vectors in the polar basis and vice versa. Then, students use a completeness relation to change bases or cartesian/polar bases and for different spin bases.
• Found in: Quantum Fundamentals course(s) Found in: Completeness Relations sequence(s)