PhysicsLAB Compilations
Amusing Problems in Physics Teacher Notes

Amusing Problems in Physics welcomes you to the world of Dr. J and his assortment of pets, relatives, friends, and adversaries. His adventures and misadventures will take you and your students through many of the concepts of introductory physics. The situations are often unique, occasionally unrealistic, but hopefully always humorous. Above all, they are intended to challenge students to utilize their comprehension of the concept at hand.

Comments on the suggested uses of these problems should be prefaced by the following guideline: These problems should never be used in place of the real-life application problems that are essential to learning physics. To the contrary, they were written to serve as a comic relief to the continual string of serious problems so necessary in the teaching of physics. A sense of humor and a touch of lightheartedness can add to the learning atmosphere of a classroom, regardless of the subject being taught.

Each master relates to a basic concept in physics. Introductory courses differ in course content, so not every master may be suited for one particular course. Problems dealing with magnetic fields or radioactive decay, for example, may fit better in a second-year introductory course. In any case, Amusing Problems in Physics covers concepts in practically all of the basic areas. Most of the masters contain two problems, each dealing in a different way with the same concept. On the average, students should require ten to fifteen minutes to complete each problem. Persevering through the puns is usually about as difficult as working the actual problem.

The Answer Section that follows shows a logical approach to each problem leading to the correct answer. However, as you well know, there are often many logical ways to approach a problem, each giving the correct answer. Students often ask "Which way is best?" The approach they took is, of course, the best way. Such is the case with the suggested answers. If your approach is different from the one shown, by all means use it when explaining the solution. Who knows, maybe you can even come up with a little extra physics punishment in the process.

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