group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Black space capsule
Contemporary Challenges 2022 (2 years)

stefan-boltzmann blackbody radiation

In this activity, students apply the Stefan-Boltzmann equation and the principle of energy balance in steady state to find the steady state temperature of a black object in near-Earth orbit.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

de Broglie wavelength after freefall
Contemporary Challenges 2022 (3 years)

de Broglie wavelength gravity

In this activity students combine energy conservation with the relationship between the de Broglie wavelength and momentum to find the wavelength of atoms that have been dropped a given distance.

group Small Group Activity

60 min.

Raising and Lowering Operators for Spin
Central Forces 2022

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Earthquake waves
Contemporary Challenges 2022 (3 years)

wave equation speed of sound

In this activity students use the known speed of earthquake waves to estimate the Young's modulus of the Earth's crust.

face Lecture

10 min.

Basics of heat engines
Contemporary Challenges 2022 (3 years) This brief lecture covers the basics of heat engines.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Grey space capsule
Contemporary Challenges 2022 (3 years)

blackbody Stefan-Boltzmann Law

In this small group activity, students work out the steady state temperature of an object absorbing and emitting blackbody radiation.

assignment_ind Small White Board Question

30 min.

Magnetic Moment & Stern-Gerlach Experiments
Quantum Fundamentals 2022 (2 years)

Angular Momentum Spin Magnetic Moment Stern-Gerlach Experiments

Students consider the relation (1) between the angular momentum and magnetic moment for a current loop and (2) the force on a magnetic moment in an inhomogeneous magnetic field. Students make a (classical) prediction of the outcome of a Stern-Gerlach experiment.

groups Whole Class Activity

10 min.

Pineapples and Pumpkins
Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

Integration Sequence

There are two versions of this activity:

As a whole class activity, the instructor cuts a pumpkin in order to produce a small volume element \(d\tau\), interspersing their work with a sequence of small whiteboard questions. This version of the activity is described here.

As a small group activity, students are given pineapple rounds and pumpkin wedges to explore area volume elements in cylindrical and spherical coordinate systems. In this version of the activity, the fruit is distribued to the students with appropriate children's pumpkin cutting equipment, as part of activities Vector Differential--Curvilinear, Scalar Surface and Volume Elements, or Vector Surface and Volume Elements.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Scalar Surface and Volume Elements
Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

Integration Sequence

Students use known algebraic expressions for length elements \(d\ell\) to determine all simple scalar area \(dA\) and volume elements \(d\tau\) in cylindrical and spherical coordinates.

This activity is identical to Vector Surface and Volume Elements except uses a scalar approach to find surface, and volume elements.

group Small Group Activity

10 min.

Thermal radiation at twice the temperature
Contemporary Challenges 2022 (3 years)

Stefan-Boltzmann blackbody radiation

This small group activity has students reasoning about how the Planck distribution shifts when the temperature is doubled. This leads to a qualitative argument for the Stefan-Boltzmann law.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Optical depth of atmosphere
Contemporary Challenges 2022 (3 years) In this activity students estimate the optical depth of the atmosphere at the infrared wavelength where carbon dioxide has peak absorption.

computer Mathematica Activity

30 min.

Using Technology to Visualize Potentials
Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

electrostatic potential visualization

Begin by prompting the students to brainstorm different ways to represent a three dimensional scalar field on a 2-D surface (like their paper or a whiteboard). The students use a pre-made Sage code or a Mathematica worksheet to visualize the electrostatic potential of several distributions of charges. The computer algebra systems demonstrates several different ways of plotting the potential.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Energy radiated from one oscillator
Contemporary Challenges 2022 (3 years)

blackbody radiation

This lecture is one step in motivating the form of the Planck distribution.

group Small Group Activity

5 min.

Spherical Harmonics
Central Forces 2022 (2 years)

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Name the experiment (changing entropy)
Energy and Entropy 2021 (2 years)

thermodynamics entropy experiment derivative first law

Students are placed into small groups and asked to create an experimental setup they can use to measure the partial derivative they are given, in which entropy changes.

computer Computer Simulation

30 min.

Blackbody PhET
Contemporary Challenges 2022 (3 years)

blackbody

Students use a PhET to explore properties of the Planck distribution.

assignment_ind Small White Board Question

10 min.

Vector Differential--Rectangular
Static Fields 2022 (7 years)

vector differential rectangular coordinates math

Integration Sequence

In this introductory lecture/SWBQ, students are given a picture as a guide. They then write down an algebraic expression for the vector differential in rectangular coordinates for coordinate equals constant paths.

This activity can be done as a mini-lecture/SWBQ as an introduction to Vector Differential--Curvilinear where students find the vector differential in cylindrical and spherical coordinates..

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Hydrogen emission
Contemporary Challenges 2022 (4 years)

hydrogen atom photon energy

In this activity students work out energy level transitions in hydrogen that lead to visible light.

face Lecture

5 min.

Wavelength of peak intensity
Contemporary Challenges 2022 (2 years)

Wein's displacement law blackbody radiation

This very short lecture introduces Wein's displacement law.

group Small Group Activity

10 min.

Sequential Stern-Gerlach Experiments
Quantum Fundamentals 2022 (2 years)