Overview | Standards and Benchmarks |
Description of Chapters |
Themes | Sample Activities
The PSET curriculum consists of six units that cover
both introductory physics and chemistry. The
course is hierarchical, with both topics and skills developed in a structured
some powerful common themes. A number of
homeworks and activities are specifically designed to meet the curriculum's Learning
about Learning content goals.
- Chapter 1:
Interactions and Energy introduces students to all of the common themes
of the course, in particular the themes of interactions between objects and
the energy description of interactions.
- Chapter 2:
Interactions and Forces introduces students to an alternative framework
(that of forces) within which they can explain interactions
they first see in Chapter 1 that involve objects pushing or pulling on one
- Chapter 3: Interactions and Fields
introduces students to the ideas of "fields of influence"
mediating interactions that can occur over a distance, specifically the
magnetic, electric charge and gravitational interactions. The concept of
potential energy is also introduced.
- Chapter 4: Interactions and the
Behavior of Gases introduces the scientists' Small Particle Model (SPM) of matter and applies
it to phenomena involving gases, making use
of computer simulators that model
the behavior of gases on both macroscopic and microscopic scales.
- Chapter 5: Interactions and
Physical Changes focuses on physical properties and changes in the
context of liquids and solids. Students investigate physical changes at both
the macroscopic and microscopic (small particle) scales.
- Chapter 6: Interactions and
Chemical Changes focuses on chemical changes and their
particle-level underpinnings, employing both in-class experiments and
simulators that model chemical reactions and decomposition on both the
macroscopic and microscopic scales.
For the full list of activities and
homeworks in PSET, see the Table of Contents (PDF).