U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Science and Technology
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 01-13-2019, 12:52 PM
 
135 posts, read 51,224 times
Reputation: 78

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
For me the problem with swapping rigor for "fun" is that important details tend to get lost and information incorrectly communicated. I can't count the number of times I've seen scientific reporting show glaring errors, all in the name of entertaining the public.
Humour doesn't need to swap rigor, it can be used in a way so that it becomes a natural part of things like example problems.
There are several examples of this in the physics book "University Physics With Modern Physics";
like I already said, that book has an example problem in Optics where you are supposed to find the height of the mirror image of Santa Claus when he checks himself for soot in a Christmas tree ornament, and it also has awesome pictures of people in various situations that are 100% related to the topic of their respective chapters (like the opening pictures for Chapter 2, which shows a falling exhilarated bungee jumper, and Chapter 22, which shows a girl who has her hands on a charged metal sphere with her hair standing out in all directions and looks very entertained by that).
I also remember a kinematics problem where you were supposed to calculate when a student on the roof of a university building needed to drop an egg so that it hit his professor's head (lol) when he had walked up to that spot.
Those things are examples of humour that in no way have a negative effect on the quality of the book, in fact it probably improves the quality of that book since it adds some uplifting humour like that - it makes everything feel more down-to-earth and playful, and keeps the book from feeling dry.

Last edited by Markus86; 01-13-2019 at 01:12 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-17-2019, 06:57 PM
 
135 posts, read 51,224 times
Reputation: 78
I just realised that one "high-level" book that I did enjoy a lot was "Elements Of Electromagnetics" by Matthew Sadiku".
He was one of the authors for "Fundamentals Of Electric Circuits", and he seems to know what good teaching is all about;
he always makes sure to explain the concepts in a straightforward manner without spending several pages on irrelevant formalities, and he also always gives several example problems with solutions at regular intervals throughout the chapters - he even switches between problems with full solutions and problems with only the final answer so that some of the exercise problems will remain unsolved until the reader has figured it out, so he covers both types of problems.
And that's exactly how I think that any engineering course should be taught - straight to the point, and with example problems that are not any more complicated than necessary (for example, not a bunch of tedious algebra that doesn't actually have anything to do with the learning process).

Last edited by Markus86; 01-17-2019 at 07:17 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-17-2019, 11:00 PM
 
6,221 posts, read 3,337,765 times
Reputation: 16519
Quote:
Originally Posted by turf3 View Post
Huh?


You do realize that it's important to understand which independent variable your function is a function of, don't you?

...?
Sorry, didn't see this earlier or I would have answered. Of course I understand the importance of knowing what it's a function of. What I'm talking about is textbooks that use that notation, and worse, when it doesn't communicate anything of value to the student at that grade/knowledge level. And in fact simply adds confusion. We're not talking esoteric problems here, but simple equations of the form y=mx+b made overly complex by using the f(x) notation. May not seem like much to write f(x)=mx+b, but then string a whole page of those together and add subscripts and superscripts and maybe a g(f(x)) somewhere in there and you've lost 90% of the students in the room. Lost not in the math, but the notation.

One of my pet peeves for text books is things are often arranged in what appears to be a logical order (you need A to understand B) but historically that's not how the knowledge developed. Humans learned a little bit of B empirically, but didn't understand it. But that drove learning some of A which then provided the ability to learn more of B and so forth in a feedback loop. I think for a lot of students learning would happen more effectively the same way. Little bit of B to ground A. Then a bit of A to understand B and then bootstrapping upward from there. We try to take things in whole chunks and it's too much to get the mind around at one time for most people.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-24-2019, 04:43 PM
 
Location: Ohio
18,685 posts, read 13,693,313 times
Reputation: 14718
Quote:
Originally Posted by Markus86 View Post
Is it just me, or doesn't it seem like textbooks for especially math and physics tend to become less and less approachable and descriptive as they become more advanced?
Your language skills should be more advanced, too.

If you can't read at Level 12 on the Slosson or FROG scales, then science and math are probably not for you.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Today, 10:19 AM
 
135 posts, read 51,224 times
Reputation: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
Sorry, didn't see this earlier or I would have answered. Of course I understand the importance of knowing what it's a function of. What I'm talking about is textbooks that use that notation, and worse, when it doesn't communicate anything of value to the student at that grade/knowledge level. And in fact simply adds confusion. We're not talking esoteric problems here, but simple equations of the form y=mx+b made overly complex by using the f(x) notation. May not seem like much to write f(x)=mx+b, but then string a whole page of those together and add subscripts and superscripts and maybe a g(f(x)) somewhere in there and you've lost 90% of the students in the room. Lost not in the math, but the notation.

One of my pet peeves for text books is things are often arranged in what appears to be a logical order (you need A to understand B) but historically that's not how the knowledge developed. Humans learned a little bit of B empirically, but didn't understand it. But that drove learning some of A which then provided the ability to learn more of B and so forth in a feedback loop. I think for a lot of students learning would happen more effectively the same way. Little bit of B to ground A. Then a bit of A to understand B and then bootstrapping upward from there. We try to take things in whole chunks and it's too much to get the mind around at one time for most people.
Two problems with a lot of high-level textbooks are that they are obsessed with being as formal and general as possible from the very beginning - which is actually not a particularly good idea, because it makes it harder to get a feel for the content - and also that they go on about a topic for a veeery long time before they give you a chance to do any practice problems.
This is in fact not good teaching - some textbooks are simply worse than others.

One book that proves that even somewhat advanced engineering courses can be taught in a pedagogical, approachable and intuitive way is "Elements Of Electromagnetics" by Matthew Sadiku.
That book explains all the concepts in small chunks, and each chunk is followed by several example problems, and lots of the problems also have detailed solution steps.
This also prevents it from being tedious, because you always read small chunks at a time and then get a chance to test your knowledge.
The whole book is written that way from beginning to end, and I don't see any reason whatsoever for why other books shouldn't be that way.
Some mathematicians almost seem to have tried to make math courses feel overly formal and abstract, and I know this because there have been times when I have felt very confused by a math book and then I have checked the exactly same topic on YouTube or something - from someone who actually enjoys teaching stuff to people - and this almost always makes everything crystal clear, and makes me able to answer several of the problems from my old exams.

Then of course there are also teachers who are genuinely great and passionate, like Professor Leonard and Michel Van Biezen for example.

Last edited by Markus86; Today at 10:31 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Science and Technology
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top