Please recommend a good textbook.

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djplum

I refuse to do poorly in college physics. I ask you all for help. The way physics is taught where I go, has an hour of lecture and five hours of "discussion labs" with TAs. There is no textbook. We have block notes that don't provide much material. I learn off of handouts. Lecture is pointless, we basically take a quiz and leave every week. He lectures so fast like we don't need to pay attention to detail. He assumes we know everything. He assumes we took high school physics. Well, I didn't. Now I am frustrated and need a great textbook or guide. This is a conceptual physics class. We mostly graph things or draw representations. A book with that sort of thing, how to graph vectors, acceleration, velocity, forces, etc is what I am looking for. Please can you all recommend a textbook that addresses conceptual physics graphically?
 
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I'm afraid I'm not very familiar with non-calculus physics texts. You could try one of the better-known algebra-based texts, like Physics: Principles with Applications by Giancoli, or College Physics by Serway and Faugh. But even those books are rather equation-based, though they do treat position/velocity/acceleration graphs, vectors, etc.
 
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By the way, is it possible that the lectures and notes are skimpy because you're supposed to be learning mostly by asking a lot of questions of the TAs? Some courses are set up that way.
 

djplum

yes, the class is designed that way. we always do a few math based problems with the TA, and we have several activities in DL. But there are problems with the method. There are different discussions assigned during the week, so some groups may be ahead of others, and then you are tested despite some having an unfair advantage. It purely depends on the TA's pace. Also, DL is so crammed with activities and we discuss those plenty, but there is rarely any time for hypothetical questions. Though we use calculus in the discussion, our tests rarely reflect that. THey are more of an application of our knowledge and experience with physics, then with what we do in discussion, which is why I would like a textbook. :smile:
 
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If you know calculus, then Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday, Resnick, and Walker is also a good text.
 

djplum

Thank you for the suggestions. I think I may go with a Hewitt book. I checked his biography, and he seems to have written all of the books for conceptual physics. Calculus is fine, but I think I need a book that explains the mere basics, most likely hs level. Sometimes I think I should have taken the calculus based class (engineer geared-not my field), just to be able to work with numbers. Thanks again for replying.
 

Chi Meson

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I teach high school physics, from "bottom-feeder" physical science to AP Physics. FOr first-time physics students, my hands-down favorite text is Hewitt's. The lastest edition (9th high school edition) includes math problems in an appendix. If you want more graphical analysis, you will want a college-level text, like the aforementioned text by Giancoli, or Halliday & resnick, Serway & Vaugn (sp?), or Cutnell and Johnson (this last one being another favorite).

Hewitt also has all his lectures (36 or more of them) on videotape. See if your depatment has them, and if you can borrow them. Warning: after watching Hewitt lecture, you might really start hating your professors!
 

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