ASU Fall 2016 Session A Week 2 Update

Week 1 for PHY 121 ended well. I managed to pull off 100% on the two homework assignments, quiz 1 and test 1. It probably helped that those assignments were identical to what I had seen last spring before withdrawing from the class. The first week’s assignments are fairly straight forward.

Week 2 on the other hand is brutal and makes you question why in the world you are putting yourself through this class online. At least I am right now after two very long days of homework problems. Topics covered in lecture include:

  • From acceleration to position
  • Generic equations of motion
  • Free fall
  • Vector arithmetic
  • 2D Kinematics
  • Rotational motion

The lectures are fine for the most part, although the rotational motion lecture is a bit tough to follow if you haven’t seen polar coordinates before. Part of my complaint with the homework problems is some pretty challenging problems are given and you are only given six attempts to get the right answer. Sometimes the hints are helpful, other times there aren’t any hints. Perhaps its the order that homework 2-1’s problems were delivered in that made things so rough? Maybe in the future starting with some warm up problems before you hit students with the most challenging ones would be nice? Enough complaining… it is Physics for Engineers!

I did get through all of the problems from set 2-1, but two problems gave me a lot of trouble. The dreaded flower pot problem and then one with the Enterprise coming up fast on an Klingon star ship. Must have been Picard at the helm of the Enterprise problem because we needed to figure out what acceleration was needed to avoid a collision. Kirk probably would have just used torpedoes. If I can remember, I’ll try and post how I solved those two problems after Tuesday.

On Homework 2-2, I’m halfway done after spending the majority of the afternoon working on them. Hoping to wrap up that set tomorrow afternoon. My brain is pretty mushy right now unfortunately and after a quick glance, looking at the remaining problems after a good nights sleep will be best.

On the PHY 122 side of things an Error Propagation Exercise was due Wednesday and I was able to get that turned in well in advance. That one requires a little bit of work with partial derivatives from MAT 267. If you haven’t taken that course yet, the TA and professor have videos that walk you through what’s needed and have been very quick to respond to questions.

Lab 1 – Constant Velocity Motion in One Dimension is due Monday 8/29, but after reaching out to the professor and TA I was able to reuse a lot of my work from the lab work I had done last Spring. That was a huge time savings. I was able to get that lab submitted this morning so glad that one is done.

I am going to get started on Lab 2 Constant Acceleration Motion in One Dimension this weekend. The lab manuals take a bit to decipher, then it takes a little bit of work to setup the data in Logger Pro, perform all the calculations and find all the questions buried in the lab manual and lab template. All calculations have to typed into the lab report and using the Equation Editor in MS Word takes a bit of time. I’m definitely getting faster with that tool. I didn’t really care for Google Docs’ Equation Editor. Definitely recommend Microsoft’s. Lab 1 had a 10 page write up by the time it was all said and done.

A new addition that showed up on 8/24 is the FSE 201: Engineering Undergraduate TA class. It’s a one unit class that has a couple of assignments over the Fall semester. I wasn’t expecting to see it until Session B, but I’d rather get the couple of assignments out of the way now well in advance of their due dates. There are a few things to do for 201 over the next few weeks. I should have more to report on that next week after I’ve had time to sift through all the information that was just sent out.


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