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Reasonable assignments from Giancoli for high school physics

  1. Aug 24, 2011 #1
    I'm not sure this is the correct forum. Please direct me to the correct forum on this site or a different forum site if needed.

    I am teaching my own son physics. He is a senior. This is not an AP course. I am using the Giancoli 5th edition for problems. He is really struggling with the problems that are marked with a III, and sometimes with the ones marked with a II. Do AP teachers typically assign mostly III problems? How many problems a day are usually assigned? Am I expecting too much?

    Thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 24, 2011 #2
    Welcome to Physics Forums.

    I have not used Giancoli myself. A search of the forum for "Giancoli" gives many hits. I have scanned some. It seems it is a popular text, and AP preparation is mentioned several times. I found nothing (as far as I looked) that talked about the problem designated as II or III. I don't think you will find an answer there.

    Some of the problems I see posted by students looking for help typify the difference between usual high school problems and those used in college. Many high school courses (and I am assuming your son had one) teaches students just to substitute into an equation picked from a limited list and solve. They are really just one-step problems. My experience with challenging problems from college-texts is that they often require the student to break them down into multiple one-step problems. Could the problem be that you son was taught to think only about one step problems in his previous study?

    Two approaches come to mind. First, you could post a few of the III-type problems and get feedback. Second, you could encourage your son to post questions he has so he can get help from teachers with a range of perspectives and experiences. They might be able to identify where he is going wrong.
  4. Aug 24, 2011 #3
    To any AP physics teachers reading this who haven't used the book:
    Google books has a lot of the 4th edition accessible in the preview, and you can see what the (III) level problems are like:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=xz...EwAQ#v=onepage&q=Giancoli intext:III&f=false"

    To the OP:
    Sometimes it helps me to get a few different points of views on things if I'm having trouble with it. I know there's a lot of free physics textbooks out there on the web (legally free, not pirated). I don't know any in particular, but there's been mention of them here plenty; if you do a search I'm sure you can find one. Can't hurt.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  5. Aug 25, 2011 #4

    Andy Resnick

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    We (public research university) use Giancoli (6th) for our intro algebra-based Physics I and II courses. I typically assign problem sets (10-15 problems per week) of mostly II's, with a few I and III mixed in- and I expect students work together to solve the III-level problems as they are definitely not easy.

    As osnarf points out, it can't hurt to try other books: I recommend Motion Mountain (http://www.motionmountain.net/) as the premier free physics text, although it does sometime use calculus.
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