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Urgent Please

  1. Oct 18, 2005 #1

    Clausius2

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    Urgent Please!!

    Well,

    my question is quite simple. I have to know what level of knowledge about thermodynamics, differential calculus and integral calculus do you have when finishing the High School in US. I have to write a proposal for teaching some special course here...so can you help me?

    Thanx.

    questions:
    i) when finishing high school do you know how to apply first and second laws of thermodynamics?

    ii) when finishing high school do you know how to make simple derivatives and integrals?

    Thanx.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 18, 2005 #2
    As far as I remember thermodynamics weren't really covered when I was in high school though the first and second laws may have been mentioned but not explained in great detail. It's been a while though and I can't say that I paid that much attention in class.

    As far as Calc goes most high school students only get as far as basic algebra around here. So far as I know anyway.
     
  4. Oct 18, 2005 #3
    My recollection is Yes to both questions. But this may only apply to students taking advanced level courses. I graduated in '84, things may have changed since then.
     
  5. Oct 18, 2005 #4
    i) I cannot remember, I think no
    ii) yes
     
  6. Oct 18, 2005 #5
    I forgot to mention that but yes they are most likely taught in advanced level courses. If you're meaning in general curriculum then I don't think most high school students are exposed to these subjects.
     
  7. Oct 18, 2005 #6
    from my highschool and commonly highschools in my area and most of new england, thermodynamics isn't covered at all. perhaps mentioned in a physics course, but physics isn't required. if you take a intro course, it may be mentioned, if you take the AP course, then its not, because the AP course focusses just on mechanics covered in the AP exams.

    Most highschools offer calculus, its definetly not mandatory either. i believe the national standard is two years of math. which usually gets someone up through algebra and hopefully geometry, depending... most advanced student take calculus though, and yes, are able to cover basic derivatives and integrals.
     
  8. Oct 18, 2005 #7

    loseyourname

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    I graduated high school with knowledge of all those things, after taking Honors Physics and AP Calculus, but the classes are optional. There is no requirement that one must take these courses. One year of physical science, one year of life science, and three years of mathematics was the graduation requirement at my school; however, I'm pretty sure that four years of mathematics was the requirement for admission to most colleges/universities, but even there, what was called "math analysis," which was mostly trigonometry and polynomial factoring, was the non-honors/AP math course offered to seniors.

    Frankly, though, anybody entering college as a science major should know these things by the time they graduate high school, and I would imagine that what you are designing is tailored to college science majors.
     
  9. Oct 19, 2005 #8

    Gokul43201

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    I've taught dozens of college kids planning to major in engg. who didn't know Newton's Laws and quadratic factoring, so ...
     
  10. Oct 19, 2005 #9
    What's Quadratic factoring? (what? at least I know newton's laws!)
     
  11. Oct 19, 2005 #10

    Gokul43201

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    Smurf : factor [tex]x^2 - (a+b)x + ab [/tex] :biggrin:
     
  12. Oct 19, 2005 #11
    The average student does not know either....
     
  13. Oct 19, 2005 #12

    Astronuc

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    Generally the answer is No.

    However, since I took Calculus, Chemistry (2 years) and Physics in High School, I was one of 20-30 students out of more than 700 graduating students, who did finish high school knowing the first and second laws of thermodynamics (from physics and chemistry) and actually understood ordinary (at least second order) differential equations (with some introduction to partial differential equations) and multiple integrals. I started university at the sophomore (2nd year) level.
     
  14. Oct 19, 2005 #13

    GCT

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    I believe most high schools don't have integral calculus and especially not differential calculus. As far as thermodynamics go, most high schools will probably cover just the basics....rules of thumbs, not too much into the maths. To be honest with you, most aren't even familiar with algebraic subjects, and unfortunately as Gokul said, this applies to many college students unless you go to a technical school consisting of mostly asian students....you don't want asian students, especially foreign exchange, in your math courses.
     
  15. Oct 19, 2005 #14

    Moonbear

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    Yes and no. The honors students will have covered those topics in high school, the average students will not. Whether or not those who were taught the subjects will remember anything they learned by the time they take a college course is a toss up.

    The best assumption to make when planning an introductory course is that you'll have a class of students with mixed backgrounds. Some will already have learned the material in high school, but may not have learned it completely or correctly, and others may have never been introduced to it at all.

    It is definitely a challenge to teach to such a mixed audience. If you spend too much time covering material that is review for some, they will get bored and stop paying attention. If you don't spend enough time reviewing that material, those who have never seen it before will be lost.

    You can require pre-requisites if it is absolutely essential they know the material before you begin, such as requiring calculus (if the student learned it well in high school, they'll likely have AP exam credits).

    Also keep in mind that thermodynamics may have been taught either in chemistry or physics or both, and depending where they learned it, there may be some differences in conventions used from how you use them.
     
  16. Oct 19, 2005 #15
    oh pffft. Easy.
     
  17. Oct 19, 2005 #16

    loseyourname

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    Well, I'm not professor and freely admit that I don't know what I'm talking about, but if I were designing an intro-level course, I would assume that my students knew these things and would advise at least a year of Calculus, Chemistry, and Physics as prereqs. They can always take some remedial courses first if they have to.

    Also, I did go to a technical school with a large Asian population, so maybe that's colored my view of what a student should know after graduating high school.
     
  18. Oct 19, 2005 #17
    I thought the point of introductory courses was that they don't have lots of requisites because they're *introductory*.
     
  19. Oct 19, 2005 #18

    loseyourname

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    It depends on the school you're at. The first year of classes at CalTech requires far more pre-existing knowledge than the first year at Cal Poly.
     
  20. Oct 19, 2005 #19

    Moonbear

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    Right. Since the majority of students won't have had those classes in high school, you either teach with the understanding that you need to teach it to them in an introductory course, or you make it a second-year course rather than a first-year course and have prerequisites that you expect them to have taken so they all start out with the same skill set.
     
  21. Oct 19, 2005 #20
    if you end up having to teach too much basic level knowledge to get to the curriculum, the first suggestion may not be an option.
     
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