Help Me Guide Teachers

My publisher would like to include a Teacher's Guide with the paperback edition of How to Teach Physics to Your Dog. which means that, well, I need to put together a Teacher's Guide for How to Teach Physics to Your Dog. The problem is, I'm not exactly sure what should go in that sort of thing.

So, if you have any opinions on the subject of Teacher's Guides for pop-science books in general, or can point to examples of Teacher's Guides that you particularly like, or have suggestions for what ought to be in a Teacher's Guide for How to Teach Physics to Your Dog. If you were a teacher planning to use the book as a supplemental text in a science course of some sort, what would you like to have included with it?

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"If you were a teacher planning to use the book as a supplemental text in a science course of some sort, what would you like to have included with it?"

If you can excuse my presumption, I would propose that you are asking a not-very-right question. A more-right question to ask is, "If you were a student whose teacher was planning to use the book as a supplemental text in a science course of some sort, what areas would you hope your teacher would focus on/cover in more depth/demonstrate in class/etc.? (Especially such that you would feel the book was important/useful enough to actually purchase, even though it's not a required text.)"

I have to admit I haven't read the book yet, because...well...I don't have a particularly good reason, but it's on my list of Things I Should Really Get Around To In The Near Future. Nevertheless, I stand by my point that Teacher's Guides in books focus too much on what, perhaps, the teacher would like to cover, rather than what the students would most appreciate having covered.

Maybe that wouldn't change most teachers' answers to your original question, but as someone who is still technically a student (one more year of classes, then research forever! Whee!) I beg you (the generic you, not Dr. Orzel in particular) to keep us in the forefront of your mind. If you'll allow me a few more sentences on my soapbox, I find that when I'm in the process of taking a class and trying to absorb new material, what I find interesting and useful is a lot different from what I find interesting and useful a year later when I reexamine the material from a not-worrying-about-grades perspective. Similarly, when I've taught labs as a TA, what I get excited about in prepping (the school I was at previously gave me a lot of freedom and leeway in format and even some content. Go Huskies!), is not what necessarily struck the students as worth further exploration during classtime.

I'm sure all you distinguished teachers/learning facilitators are already aware of all this. :)

*Jamie gets down from the soapbox.*

First of all, the title should be How to Teach How to Teach Physics to Your Dog to Your Non-Dog Student.

By Satan Mayo (not verified) on 06 May 2010 #permalink

I am assigning your book along with Isaac Asimov's "Atom: Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos" for summer reading to the incoming AP Physics B class. They also have the chapter on particles and waves and the chapter on the nature of the atom from the textbook to review. This will give them a refresher of chemistry (taken before honors physics they just finished) with more emphasis on the physics point of view of the topic.

I'd like to see your lecture notes for these topics to college students (maybe at the graduate level but I think you'd sell more of the teachers guides if it were aimed at a undergraduate level), which include more of the mathematics. Also, if you are aware of good internet resources for the various chapters, particularly any applets that let teachers/students interact with the various ideas.

If you browse through my physics links at the url listed, you'll see the kinds of internet resources I'm already collecting.

How about we have the students read the book and they come up with a teachers guide. They will be the ones that will find the barriers to learning in the book and they will know were they need support for their understanding. When we build teachers guides to anything we end up with worksheets and the like to prove that the student has read the book. I think that your book brings real like applications with Emmy and that students can draw parallels to the comics books they love so much and with their generation on video games. Some cooresponding flash videos might be nice.

By Doris Gates (not verified) on 20 May 2010 #permalink