## The Philosophy Behind These Exercises

### Overview

"There was a time when the newspapers said that only 12 men understood the
theory of relativity. I do not believe there was ever such a time.
On the other hand I believe I can safely say that nobody understands
quantum mechanics."

** ---Richard Feynman [***The Character of Physical Law*]

We have developed curricular material in support of a
one-semester, intermediate course in quantum mechanics. This curricular material
uses the Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) technique and, where applicable, Physlets
to actively engage students outside of the classroom to enhance their in-class
experience. Forty-five such JiTT exercises have been developed to stress the
visualization of quantum mechanical concepts with the goal of achieving better
student understanding of these concepts.

#### Student Learning of Quantum Mechanics

Learning quantum mechanics is difficult for many students. There are three
reasons for this:

- Quantum mechanics is not like classical mechanics (uncertainty versus
determinism).
- Quantum mechanics is one level (at least) divorced from the world we live
in.
- Quantum mechanics is inherently mathematical.

The exercises we will have developed are geared to address these
difficulties. Daily JiTT exercises (WarmUps) will help students be better
prepared for class. Students prepared for class by doing these targeted
exercises are more motivated to understand the material presented and will
actively participate in class. Given how difficult quantum mechanics is to
comprehend, this preparation and motivation is crucial. In addition, the
visual nature of Physlet exercises will aid students in understanding both the
concepts and the mathematics behind quantum theory.

#### Bibliography

*Just-in-Time Teaching: Blending Active Learning with Web Technology*,
G. Novak, E. Patterson, A. Gavrin, and W. Christian, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle
River, NJ, 1999.

*Physlets: Teaching Physics with Interactive Curricular Material,* W.
Christian and M. Belloni, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2000.

*Understanding Quantum Physics: A Users Manual*, M. Morrison, Prentice
Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1990.

#### Hyperlink References

http://webphysics.davidson.edu/physletprob, the WWW version of the
curricular and reference material that accompanies: *Physlets: Teaching with
Interactive Curricular Material*, W. Christian and M. Belloni, Prentice Hall,
2000.

http://webphysics.davidson.edu/applets/applets.html, the Physlets website.