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I have to self-teach myself Physics help PLEASE

  1. Feb 28, 2008 #1
    Well, I'm a junior in high school and I decided to take Physics. A regular introductory class where the highest level of math that our class knows is Pre-Calculus/Trigonometry.

    But our teacher is insane. He gives us problem sets as if we're AP Physics. He gives no notes, no textbooks. He tells us to think and use any resource such as library or internet to help us.

    So far in the year, I've been getting answers and some help from the AP Physics people, but I really want to learn how to do it on my own.

    Here is the current one we're given. And again, I don't know any formulas or terminology except the very VERY basic ones such as torque or work.



    I don't need to get the answer for this. But on these forums, where do I look (which forums) that can help me solve it myself??

    And if you can, tell me if I'm being a baby or these problems are too hard for an introductory Physics class.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 28, 2008 #2
  4. Feb 29, 2008 #3
    Could you repost that link? Doesn't seem to work for me.
  5. Feb 29, 2008 #4
    iBanking, it is going to be incredibly difficult to achieve anything great without the help of a good teacher and a textbook. I just need to clear up what age you are and what age the teacher is setting work for as I am not familiar with the American system.

    It may also be a good idea to say exactly what course you are taking then maybe we can see if any other users are taking a similar course, and then maybe suggest a textbook to work from. I see my texbook as my Physics Bible, and I think it is very important.
  6. Feb 29, 2008 #5


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    High school? No textbook? What is this??

    Sue the school for refund, if that is possible. You are getting ripped off here.
  7. Feb 29, 2008 #6
    arildno, I have actually seen a few cases of this on these forums, mainly in the homework help section. I do not know how you can get anywere without a source of your knowledge. You could actually talk to your teacher and tell hime you are having trouble, maybe even consult another member of staff, preferably one higher in rank and try to get to th ebottom of it!
  8. Feb 29, 2008 #7
    I am 16 and the teacher is giving us work for college students (I think, he makes us the problem sets himself). I'm also taking Introductory Physics 1.

    I tried talking to him but he said that we need to think to get the problems. And it's basic formulas and if we don't know, we need to go online and find it. He doesn't even explain HOW to solve problems or anything.

    There's no one above this guy. He's an MIT graduate and has been teaching for about 30 years so no one is going to be above him, at least not in the Science Department.

    It's not worth it for just one class. Especially because when I go to college, I want to study Economics/Finance and I won't be taking Physics classes.

    I just want to learn this because Physics is really a fascinating subject and I think whether I become an investment banker or if I was to be a history teacher, I would want to know Physics.

    I don't need a site with just formulas, but a site that EXPLAINS this stuff, if that's even possible.
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2008
  9. Mar 1, 2008 #8
    Well this is cetainly one place that can help you out :cool:
  10. Mar 1, 2008 #9
    Yeah, there actually is so much knowledge and information it's a bit intimidating. Which mini-forums do you recommend I start reading??
  11. Mar 1, 2008 #10
    These forums cover just about everything. I myself find alot of the discussions too difficult to keep up with or to understand.

    If you are having trouble with homework, post it in the homework section. the great thing about this site is that people will take you through the questions and basically make you do the work, they won't just give you the answer. This in my opinion is th ebest way to learn, any homework you are struggling on that forum is the best place for the job.

    In forums such as General Physics it is sometimes nice to start one of your own threads so that people can adress your exact question.

    What parts of physics are you studying at the moment, and where are your interests?

  12. Mar 1, 2008 #11
    While it possible to learn without a textbook, its too risky. Just go on amazon and order a physics textbook. A textbook=better chances of getting an A. I hear giancoli is a good author; http://www.amazon.com/Physics-Principles-Applications-Douglas-Giancoli/dp/0130606200
    I used one of his books to suppliment my college course and I was able to get an A.

    On the side note; I think your teacher is ridiculous. There is no evidence that not using a textbook is more beneficial than using one. I think he's a hypocrite. After all, they do use textbooks at MIT.
  13. Mar 1, 2008 #12
    One of my Physics teachers doesn't use a textbook, but that is int he lessons. We can use the textbook at home to do some further reading or to do some problems on topic we are struggling with.
  14. Mar 1, 2008 #13
    What I meant was which sub-forum in these forums would be best for me...but I guess "General Physics" right?

    Thanks though...An example of a question I have is how do I plot the picture onto a Cartesian plane in the example in my first post.
  15. Mar 1, 2008 #14
    The sub-forum that is best for you is the one which your question relates to, if it is related to Quantum Physics then that is the right forum, if it relates to General Physics then that is the right place. The nice thing about this site is that it is open to all levels of ability.
  16. Mar 1, 2008 #15
    Ok, thanks a lot =)

    Luckily I finished my other work for school early so I have the rest of the weekend to read up on Physics stuff :)
  17. Mar 1, 2008 #16
    No Problem! Tomorrow there is a Chat Room opened between 10:00 and 16:00 Central Time, you will find a link ont he mainpage at the top. It would be nice to see you there, and there are plenty of people who will share similar interests, and it is nice to get to know other members! I'm happy I managed to help =]

  18. Mar 3, 2008 #17
    There is someone above your teacher, the principal. I'd mention this to your parents and arrange a discussion, in turn , with the teacher. If my 15 yr old told me she was being taught without benefit of text or relevant class notes, I'd be all over that in a heartbeat. But, before you complain, be sure you're not leaving anything out :)
  19. Mar 3, 2008 #18
    This kind of arrangment can totally kill people's interest in science. I hope you realize that it will not always be like this: producing answers without any lecturing, putting them in a box at the bottom of a paper like any other monkey. Geez, it's not science that's boring, it's the boring people like your teacher that seem to be particularly attracted to it.

    I might be a bit far out, but consider buying the first Feynman Lectures On Physics, even though it might be too hard for a college student, along with an easier-to-read textbook, it could make a good complement. Just reading Feynmans philosophical outlines on the topics is a great experience, and it gives an insight to how fascinating and joyful physics can be.
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