American Association of Physics Teachers

 Tom Moore's TALK  p. 6
Teaching General Relativity with Tensors

from the AAPT Topical Workshop:
Teaching General Relativity to Undergraduates
Syracuse University, July 20-21, 2006

Tom Moore 

The graphics from Moore's talk are here in six web pages. Click on the indicated subject to go to the relevant page.

pg. 1 Moore described teaching GR with tensors.  He presents a list of notable teachers of GR whose work influenced him.  He contrasts two approaches: 1) math first then physics and the problems of this approach.  

pg. 2   2) physics first and then the math and the problems of this approach. 

There is a third way: Use physics to motivate the math; then develop math and extend the physics.

He offers a syllabus for this third way.

pg. 3 How do you make this third way succeed?  He offers seven ways:
1. Use lots of 2-D examples,  include some non-orthogonal coordinates.

pg. 4 Moore offers his version of KISS for studying tensors.
 1. Build on student intuition about vectors
 2. Avoid unnecessary complexity.
 3. Lots of drill

pg. 5
 4. Don't get carried away with the power of notation -- write it out.
 5. Build ownership
    i. organize your class sessions to foster active learning
   ii. have students derive much
  iii. sell your approach to the students.
 6. Homeworks are like sports practice

pg. 6
7. Ways to avoid tedium

Teach tensors to provide a good foundation to students for understanding GR's big picture.

Moore's book aspires to embody the principles he advocates




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