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Example of Introducing the Concept of Flux
with a Small White Board Question Followed by a Kinesthetic Activity
Physics 422, Monday, November 10, 2008, Day 1
EPISODE 1: [00:00:38.16]
Liz: You guys remember what we talked about a few weeks ago? No?
All right. Let's refresh!
What were the main ideas?
S: [Coulomb's Law, Vector Fields, Taylor Series
L: I want to go back to the first thing you said,
Coulomb's Law as an example of a vector field.
Can you say more about that?
S: A vector field... gives it a value and a direction
[00:01:32.05]
L. We talked about two types of fields
Electric potential,
a scalar field has a value at every point in space but doesn't have a direction
An electric field was a related idea,
but now it also has a direction associated with the magnitude
What else?
S: Changing coordinate systems
[00:02:32.00]
L: Yes we talked about different kinds of coordinate systems
to take advantage of the symmetry of a problem
EPISODE 2: [00:03:24.15]
L: We're going to be talking about magnetic fields, current densities, and potentials associated
[00:03:48.13]
L: (acknowledges they're mostly thinking about the final they will be taking that evening)
First idea we're going to talk about, we're going to talk about FLUX
On your small white boards, write something that you know about flux.
(close ups of small white board with student writing
(closed integral sign) Eds (vector sign over E and ds) = Q enc/e)
(Liz collects small white boards and puts them on ledge facing board)
EPISODE 3: [00:05:22.16]
L: I see lots of good things
(? joke, students laugh)
(posts one on ledge so can be seen, diagram for a curved element of area with arrow pointing through it, with statement: "Flux is a vector quantity/Area")
[00:05:35.21]
(L turns over two small white boards so contents can be seen:
'Flux - symbol for phi = integral sign B . da with vector signs over B and da "due to changing field"
L: what do I have here?
[00:05:44.11]
(Holds one up:
L: This one says 'The flux is the amount of field 'flowing' through an area"
(drawing shows element of area with many arrows pointing before, through, after it)
L: and some arrows pointing and it looks like a little piece of area
What do you think about this?
[00:06:03.22]
S: (perpendicular)
L: something about a perpendicular component
S: (cross product)
[00:06:18.15]
L: So if I have an area
(walks to get hulu hoop)
L: So let's say here is my little piece of area
which way does the area vector point?
S:
L: Out of the circle, either that way (gestures) or that way (gestures)
depending on which way I really care about
L: So if I'm talking about a vector that is pointing through this area
do I want to take the cross product or the dot product?
[00:06:49.05]
L: all right, dot product through the area (puts hulu hoop down)
[00:06:52.23]
(Returns to small white board on ledge, picks it up, and holds it high)
L: Anything else you want to say about this one?
(pause)
EPISODE 4: [00:07:00.01]
(puts small white board back on ledge and picks up another)
L: What about this one?
L: I've got a similar sort of picture,
I've got a little square with an arrow pointing through
and it says "Flux is a vector quantity and this looks like divided by area.
(points to line under "vector quantity" and over "Area")
What do you think about that?
(turns to board and picks up prior white board in other hand, holds both up high)
L: Both of these are really productive ways of thinking about fluid flow
and about light flowing through an area
and when we talk about flux this is the type of thing that we're talking about.
[00:07:40.11]
(returns small white boards to ledge)
L: In E and M (we talk about it a little bit differently)
In E and M we still talk about the amount of field pointing through an area,
we don't think about it as a flow (?)
and this idea of amount of flow per unit area (upward intonation)
is not how we think about it in E and M.
In E and M, it is the amount of field that is pointing through an area
(walks over to get hoop) and the size of the area matters
(picks up hoop, holds it vertical, and sweeps other hand over the area it defines)
so the bigger my area for the same field in the same location, the more flux I have
[00:08:16.16]
L: So in E and M we're not talking about the amount of field per unit area,
were talking about a multiplication between the field and the area.
Does that make sense?
EPISODE 5: [00:08:23.01]
(goes to board and picks up new small white board and holds it up high)
L: (?)
L: This is a mathematical representation of that idea
(Board: Flux = symbol for phi = symbol for integral B . da (vector sign over B and da)
L: I have some field and part of that field is on a surface
and part of that field is perpendicular to that surface
and I'm going to count up all the bits and pieces that are perpendicular to that surface
and I'm going to take a dot product of my field and my area
and I want to do this for every point that lies within my area.
Make sense? Ok.
EPISODE 6: [00:08:57.06]
L: So I have some props here.
(puts small white board back on ledge. Goes to get rulers)
L: I want people in the middle where there is a high density of people to grab some rulers (hands out rulers)
L: Can I get a few more people to cluster around here?
L: So the rulers are the vectors.
And you guys are a vector field (points to students with rulers) throughout space.
All right. And here is my gate (holds up hoop)
that I want to talk about the flux through, all right?
EPISODE 7: So I can think about flux as being the measurement
of how much of your vector,
You've got to be closer (gestures to student to move closer)
How much of my vector is pointing through my little gate
(moves hoop so a hand holding one of the rulers is in the plane of the hoop)
(pauses, looks at students)
So here I have some non-zero flux
because at the points that lie along the surface of my area
there is some value of the field. ok?
(moves to a new position with no rulers or meter sticks pointing through hoop)
If I move my area over here, there's no flux, no vector field
What if I put my hoop here. Is there flux or no?
(moves hoop to position with one ruler sticking through it)
L: yes? How can you tell?
S: there's a vector going through it
L: There's a vector going through it. Yeah?
What is the field at a point that's lying in my area ?
(moves hand over surface defined by hoop)
(looks around at class)
L: (?) Here's my vector but maybe the vector is at this point here
(points to end of ruler outside hoop) and NOT in my area.
So the representation of having fields represented by arrows is a little bit confusing here because the arrows take up space and we're talking about a function over space
SO when you're calculating flux the thing that matters is
what is the field at the point that's lying on the surface of my area
(sweeps hand over area defined by hoop)
and not when I draw the arrow does the tip of the arrow (go through here).
Making sense? (puts down hoop).
EPISODE 8: [00:11:08.22]
L: Let's count by sixes. Excellent,
Remember the table numbers? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (points). You'll need a white board.
(students move to tables, get large white boards)
[00:12:58.01]
L: So here is the problem that I want you to consider. You have an electric field
(writes E = with vector sign on board )
and your electric field is going to depend upon the z coordinate (writes E subzero z zhat) some magnitude z in the z hat direction
I want you to find the flux of this field through a triangle that lies sort of slanted on the cartesian coordinate system here
(draws 3D coordinate system, draws trianglar lines)
so this point is (1,0,0) and this point is (0,1,0) and this point is (0,0,1)
All right?
(small groups set to work)
PAGE
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