Physics Lessons

These lessons were developed as part of my involvement with the GK12 program at Northwestern.  For the 2013-2014 school year, I worked with Deb Wilson, a teacher at Highland Park High School, developing mathematics lessons based on my research and other topics in astrophysics and mathematics.

These lessons are geared towards use in an Algebra I, Algebra II, or geometry class at the high school level.  Some are data based (linear regression) and some are purely analytic.

These were designed with a lecture describing the physics behind them in mind, but for now I’ve only put up the lessons themselves.  If you’re interested in using any of them, please feel free, and shoot me an email if you’d like more information.

Astrophysics related lessons

  • Hubble Law Introduces the concept of an expanding universe, the age of the universe, and linear regression.
  • Scientific Notation Scientific Notation using relativistic time-dilation and black holes.
  • Exoplanet Hunting Geometry Lesson for finding exoplanets from (real) Kepler data, and includes a section on determining average surface temperature.
  • Tides Determine how much the tides on Earth slow down the rotation.
  • Comet ISON Parabolic fitting using sample data from Comet ISON.
  • Asteroid Parabola Made up asteroid encounter with Earth.
  • Parabolic Motion (Random) Few physics examples and parabolic motion/gravity on other planets; only used last page in class.
  • Triangles LISA Introduces LISA and gravitational waves for equilateral vs isosceles triangles.
  • Triangles On Maps Shows triangles on different map projections and on the CMB.
  • Black Hole Warping Shows how angles warp near a Black Hole.

Non-astro computational lessons

  • Adjacency Matrices (Flight Map) Introduces Adjacency matrix using a map of North American Flights.
  • Adjacency Example (Big) Same with 6×6 matrix
  • Introduction to abstract adjacency matricies (not as good as Flight Plans)
  • Radio Carbon Dating Introduce radioactive decay and provides a few examples of C-14 Dating
  •   Explains virus propagation via composite functions. Designed to be used with NetLogo