Monday, April 18, 2016

Physics with Fred

It is now called Pre-Algebra 0 with Physics but the content has remained the same. I believe I purchased my copy from CBD. You can find a placement test there.

I wrote last year about how we started using Life of Fred and how First Son managed with Fractions and Decimals and Percents. He finished Decimals and Percents at the beginning of this year without problems, working steadily.

The Physics book contains forty chapters. At the end of each chapter are a few questions under Your Turn to Play. The answers appear on the following page (unlike the previous and ensuing books in which the answers appear immediately after the questions. While a student could avoid looking at the answers, I find it difficult myself to avoid accidentally seeing them.) Every six chapters or so, there's a "Bridge" of ten questions including recent and review material. The Bridge answers are in the back of the book. It's recommended students can answer at least nine questions correctly before moving on to the next chapter. With that in mind, there are five Bridges provided each time so the student has multiple chances to pass. In the beginning of the book, the author writes that some students complete multiple Bridges merely for additional practice and we did that a few times as well. If First Son seemed just a little shaky on something even if he had passed, I encouraged him to do a second Bridge and he usually did.

This is the last book for which the student is not supposed to use a calculator, and there's plenty of multiplication and division to practice those skills.

Because I didn't remember much of my high school physics, I read the chapters and answered the questions as well. I included it with my other preparation over the weekend for the upcoming week. He rarely needed help, but I was glad I was ready the few times he did. 

First Son loved placing mathematical problems and concepts within the framework of physics. Rather than replacing the physics he was doing for science, I found this book a nice complement, bringing in additional information and providing greater practice with the concepts introduced in his other books. (The physics books he read this year focused much more on the development of thought in physics and the theorems than practice problems with actual numbers.) Some of the topics covered include: friction, the meter, Mu, measuring force, Hooke's law, energy, work, transfer and storage of energy, the metric system, measuring mass, pressure, density, buoyancy, vacuums, volts, amperes, ohms, Ohm's Law, parallel circuits, and the history of physics.
Along the way, there's plenty of math, including review from Fractions and Decimals and Percents.

The Life of Fred books excel at revealing a greater world of mathematics and all of creation:
Fred asked a question that stopped Kitty: "What makes you think that human beings with their three-pound brains should be able to understand everything? There are mysteries in physics. There are mysteries in mathematics. There are mysteries in religion. Only lunatics and God say that they know all the secrets of the universe."
The last few chapters of this book are a condensed history of physics without any math problems to work.
The more we discover, the less we pretend to understand.
First Son spent fifteen weeks, four days a week, working through this book, including repeating a few of the Bridges. He continued with xtramath until he mastered division again and is also completing the sixth grade module on Khan Academy. He's nearly finished with that and then we'll set it aside until next year as well. (I didn't do as well keeping up with him on Khan Academy as I did with the physics!)

He has already eagerly started Pre-Algebra 1 With Biology, though he'll need to set it aside at the end of the year and finish it next school year. We continue to be pleased and encouraged by Fred here on the Range.

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