Document Type

Instructional Material

Publication Date



This unit is written to be taught during the first two weeks of the physics course. In any physics course, from conceptual physics up through graduate studies, there is a unique and significant dependence on the mathematical concepts and skills required to succeed in the course. A keen understanding of mathematics, as well as knowing how to apply the tools, is an important piece of the physics course. Math in/and Physics is designed to answer the question, “If this is a physics class, why do I have to do so much math?” The goals of this unit are designed to allow the students to discover for themselves the answers to this question. This unit takes the students through the entire year, by way of a physical survey of the math skills needed. They will audit the year according to math milestones that will help them achieve confidence and strength in physics. Students will create a Physics/Math Survival Guide that will contain the math concepts, examples of when to use these concepts, and a “how-to” page that walks to reader though the problem-solving protocols for the physical concepts. The Survival Guide is a product that students will continue to add to and build as the year progresses, and, in many cases, this Guide can follow the high school students through to college. In addition to the goal of academic success, the Physics/Math Survival Guide also serves as a model in organization, scaffolding, and interdisciplinary studies. It teaches the students to go beyond the individualization of class and subject and make connections. The Guide will help students realize the value of mathematical reason and logic beyond the math classroom, and into their lives as learners and doers.

pwhetstone_math_supplement.pdf (69 kB)