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Opinions on International Baccalaureate (IBO) physics

  1. Jun 4, 2004 #1
    Has anyone taught, or been taught, using IBO (International Baccalaureate Organization) physics? If so, is it rigorous? Could it be taught online?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2004 #2

    Chi Meson

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    IB physics has two levels, SL (standard level) and HL (higer level). Neither level is calculus-based, so I would say that both IB choices are "easier" than the AP Physics "C" curriculum. (I teach AP/IB physics BTW)

    THe IB "HL" has the greatest "breadth" of all curricula, and the AP "B" curriculum falls somewhere between the "SL" and the "HL."

    Is it rigorous? Depends on whatyou know already. IF you have already taken a basic or honors physicsclass in high school, and if you "got it" quickly and easily, then you could possibly teach yourself with good textbooks.

    I don't know about learning it online; possible I suppose. These forums would bwe helpful to you, but don't expect to pick up a free tutor here. :uhh:

    Physics is one of those subjects where you really get an advantage from a dialog between you and a teacher. Some preconceptions are hard to get rid of, and sometimes you need immediate feedback to let you know when you are going in the wrong direction. The results of some self taught physicists can be seen a-plenty on the "Theory Development" sub-forum.
  4. Jun 6, 2004 #3
    Actually I'm an instructor looking for a physics curriculum, not a student.

    Another question: Is there a political bent to the instruction? I seemed to notice a slight bent in some of the humanity courses, but not sure about the physics.
  5. Jun 7, 2004 #4

    Chi Meson

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    Whoah! Different thing!

    RE Politics: No I have not detected anything political in the PHysics curriculum. It is decidedly "International" in the way some conventions are used, but that is not politically motivated (at least they don't use "T" for kinetic energy).

    THe curriculum is proprietary although not a total secret. The outline of the core curriculum plus optional areas are very detailed. I would be violating an agreement if I mailed you a copy, but I can say that it is very similar to the AP "B" curriculum outline. The Higher-level course covers almost all of a good high school / college intro textbook. Topics NOT covered: Rotational mechanics; stress/strain; fluid mechanics beyond Archimedes, Bernoulli, and static pressure.

    The whole IB thing is very organized and centralized and holistic. I think the big word here is "control." I doubt that teaching over the internet will be an acceptable part of the IB "thing" any time soon. ANyone can take the IB physics test, but the one test on its own has no real value. IB means really nothing unless its the whole IB diploma. As a single test, the AP is more valuable.
  6. Jun 7, 2004 #5
    No rotational mechanics?!?!?! Holy cow, that is more important than linear mechanics. So when the floor of the Gravitron drops away, will students know why the people don't fall out of the ride?
  7. Jun 8, 2004 #6

    Chi Meson

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    Uniform circular motion IS covered, including frictional and gravitational forces acting as centripetal force. I should have said rotational "dynamics" is not covered. That is, no angular acceleration, no moment of inertia, no tangential/angular translations. Torque is covered only as far as rotational statics (balancing cw & ccw torques).
  8. Jun 9, 2004 #7
    Thanks for the clarification. Although I think rotational dynamics is important, at least the Gravitron problem is covered.
  9. Jun 9, 2004 #8

    Chi Meson

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    I agree. In fact, rotaional dynamics was always my favorite part of the "elementary" physics. But since the concept of "moment of inertia" is so intrinsically tied to calculus, the only "advanced" curriculum that includes it is the AP "C." THis curriculum covers only Mechanics and Electromagnetism, but includes calculus and even gets into Gauss' laws. IMO, (and others' opinions too) the AP"C" is the only curriculum that is equivalent to a proper college physics class.
  10. Jun 9, 2004 #9
    Well, the concept of accleration is also tied to calculus, but we still discuss it at length. And moment-of-inertia is certainly well-covered in most algebra-based introductory courses. So I disagree with the IBO on this count. But I guess we only have so much time to teach too many topics.
  11. Jun 9, 2004 #10

    Chi Meson

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    True, good point. But I always felt more squirrelly than usual when presenting the big list of moments of inertia for all those objects (you know, the solid sphere, the hollow sphere, the solid disk, the rectangle rotated around its end, the rectangle rotated around its center, the rod rotated around its end, the rod rotated around its center, the solid sphere rotated around a point on its outer edge, etc etc etc.) It makes it seem as though theres a different formula for everything when there is actually only one that involves calculus.

    But your second point is the real reason; something has to go and no matter what is struck, its gonna be somebody's favorite topic.
  12. Jun 9, 2004 #11
    I would just give them the numerical value of the moment-of-inertia and let them run with it. Is there really a need to calculate it from scratch each time?
  13. Jun 11, 2004 #12
    I'm currently going through the IB HL physics, and it's just too easy. Well, I guess it's not any worse than the other college physics programs. In my opinion, it should be modified to include more stuff.
  14. Jun 14, 2004 #13

    Chi Meson

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    FOr most people, Physics is just too hard. If the program were any more difficult, thenit could not be offered. THere are very few schools willing to have a class with only three students in it. I personally wish that the IB courses were calculus-based, but they are not.
  15. Jun 14, 2004 #14

    I will start studying IB HL physics next year, and it seems like I will be the only one in my my whole school that will take HL physics since most kids consider it hard. I think the reason why they dont include calculus in physics is that not everyone taking the Ib diploma is going to take HL Mathematics which is a pretty impossible course(70 out of 30000 got a 7).
    The thing i'm worried about is that in IB physics there are several options to be chosen the second year, and you have to focus on one or two and skip the others which is a disadvantage, sadly. But according to cambridge university, a >5 in HL subjects in IB is considered an A level.

    I would be grateful if someone could share their experience in this course :smile:
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2004
  16. Sep 26, 2006 #15
    Currently I'm taking SL physics, and I consider it extremely hard. My two extra options are Optics and Mechanics Extension (I'm sorry if these aren't the actual names of the "options", but my IB program is in spanish and I'm throwing my own translations here).

    My SL physics class consists of four student, none of which are what we could call a "genious", so we're all struggling for survival. Our exams are in a month (November), and according to our teacher the world average grade is a 3... (Is this even true?)

    To be honest, it'll take a considerable amount of cunning, skill, and study to pass these exams. My teacher gave me 25/48 in my practices, not because my work was particularly bad, but because he didn't like my "mocking" tone. With a 25/48 in what I think is the 24% of the total grade, I don't think I can pass.

    Anyway, SL physics doesn't look hard at all if you really like it, but in my case, I hate every single part of it. Don't get me wrong, I chose SL physics because I was particularly interested in that area of human knowledge, but after two years of SL physics with my teacher... a feeling of the purest loathing has replaced my initial enthusiasm. My interests are now placed on Literature and History, where I'm pretty sure I can archieve a 7.

    This is the opinion of someone who's about to finish the IB program.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2006
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