Winston-Salem State University
Integrated Physics and Pre-calculus
Deva Sharma, Physical Sciences WSSU
Majid Saadat, Mathematics Department WSSU

Target Audience: Freshman Science Majors

Pedagogy: Team Taught using group discussions and hands-on lab activities

Goal: Scientific Problem -Solving

Description: An integrated Physics/Math course for Freshman Science majors to be taught by a team of two professors using group-discussion and hands-on-experiments pedagogy is described. This course is designed to instill in students an appreciation of the connections between physical phenomena and the beauty of mathematical modeling to explain these phenomena.

Credit: 7 Semester Hours
Prerequisite: College Algebra

This is the first semester of a one-year introductory physics and pre-calculus course. The first semester physics course includes the study of mechanics, properties of matter, wave motion, and heat. The pre-calculus component will include vectors, algebraic, and trigonometric functions.

Because of departmentalization of physics and mathematics courses, students often fail to see the connections between physical phenomena and mathematical modeling needed or used to explain these physical phenomena. Also if students take physics and mathematics at different times (semesters) they tend to forget the material, and therefore end up relearning either physics concepts or mathematical applications used in explaining the physical concepts. In this integrated physics and pre-calculus course, a cohort of twenty (20) to twenty-five (25) students will simultaneously enroll in the two courses. The integrated course will be taught back to back by a team of two professors. The professors will meet twice a week and attend each other’s classes at least once a week.

The course will start with an experiment in physics laboratory. The physics principles related to the experiment will be discussed in physics (hour) component of the course while a mathematical model complete with equations will be developed in the math hour (component) of the course. An example of this is the projectile experiment done in most physics courses and the projectile problems solved in most pre-calculus courses.

The students enrolling in the integrated Physics/Math course will work in groups of four. First, each group will discuss a topic and come to a consensus. After the groups have finished discussion, a representative from each group will summarize the group discussion and write the results on chalkboard. After all groups have their ideas on the board, the instructor will lead a discussion to bring to closure to discuss (not to circle the wagon).

Course Goals
This course is designed to instill in students an appreciation of the connections between physical phenomena and the beauty of mathematical modeling to explain these phenomena.

Course Evaluation/ Assessment
The evaluation strategies will include:
1. Group evaluation 20%
2. Concept Questions 10%
3. Problem Solving Skills 20%
4. Writing Skills 20%
5. Course Portfolio 30%

At this point, evaluation strategies and their weights are listed. Detailed assessment strategies will be developed during the next couple of months.
The course portfolio will include lab reports.

Integrated Course Topics

Force and Motion
Rotational Motion
Thermal Properties
Heat and Thermodynamics
Functions and Graphs
Quadratic Functions
Trigonometric Functions
Projectile Motion
Gravitation and Circular Motion
Harmonic Functions
Exponential Functions
System of Equations
Trigonometric Identities

Syllabi index

7/30/99  Hit Counter