Before You Start

Assigning Physlet Quantum Physics or Physlet Physics material without properly preparing the class can lead to frustration. Although Physlet problems often appear to be simple, they are usually more challenging than traditional problems because novice solution strategies are often ineffective. In addition, small technical problems are bound to occur without testing. We use Physlets extensively in our introductory courses at Davidson College, but we always start the semester with a short laboratory whose sole purpose is to introduce the Physlet user interface and to solve a Physlet problem in the way a physicist solves a problem; that is, to consider the problem conceptually, to decide what method is required and what data to collect, and finally to solve the problem. As a follow-up, we then assign a simple Physlet-based exercise that must be completed in one of the College's public computer clusters. This minimal preparation allows us to identify potential problems before Physlet-based material is assigned on a regular basis.

In response to these possible difficulties, we have written Chapter 1: Introduction to Physlets. This chapter provides students and instructors with a guided tutorial through the basic functionality of Physlets. It is important to emphasize that:

After completing the exercises in Chapter 1, students and instructors alike should be in a position to complete the exercises in the Physlet Quantum Physics and Physlet Physics books.

OSP Projects:
Open Source Physics - EJS Modeling
Physlet Physics
Physlet Quantum Physics
STP Book