Playing with Patterns

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Winter 2018 quarter

Taught by

physics education research, cognitive abilities development and assessment, adult and continuing science education

Note: This program is a repeat of the fall program of the same title. Students who took the fall quarter program should not enroll in the winter repeat program.

What are the fundamental physics principles that govern phenomena in the universe? How do we make sense of numbers to describe these physical relationships? Using physics and mathematics, scientists have sought to describe and predict the world around us, resulting in innumerable metaphysical and technological advancements. The fundamental forces of nature will be our entry point for exploring physics with algebra. We will use the language of mathematics to describe and communicate important relationships between observations and measurements in physics and other fields of science.

We will use technology to develop and play with mathematical models, elucidating patterns that we can observe and compare with physical phenomena and enjoy for their beauty. Integrated reasoning in math and physics will be supplemented with topics from educational psychology, including the nature of scientific knowledge, metacognition, novice/expert differences, and the mind-brain connection.

Our learning goals will include development of analytical and critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, reading, and writing skills. Students will develop and demonstrate their learning through active in-class participation, homework assignments, seminar discussions, papers, labs, and exams. Laboratory activities will solidify students' understanding of the program concepts, as well as develop data collection skills and mathematical modeling abilities.

In addition to credit in lab and learning psychology, students successfully completing this program will have covered the equivalent of one quarter of physics with laboratory (algebra-based) and will receive five credits of precalculus. Students will have established a foundation for further studies in introductory science programs such as Computer Science Foundations, Integrated Natural Science, and/or Matter and Motion.

Program Details

Fields of Study

consciousness studies education mathematics physics psychology sustainability studies

Preparatory For

biology, mathematics, physics, health sciences, education, and other natural sciences.


Winter Open

Location and Schedule

Final Schedule and Room Assignment

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First class meeting: Monday, January 8 at 9am (tbd).

Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online


2017-05-16New winter opportunity added.