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A Toolbox of Diagrams

Formula and diagrams are forms of communication in many disciplines, not just the sciences. This video, A Toolbox of Diagrams, allows the viewer to eavesdrop on a discussion between a tutor and lecturer about why diagrams are included in their students learning environment and how the lecturer wants the tutor to approach discussions about diagrams when working with the students.

This video therefore works on many levels. If it is being viewed by lecturers and tutors then it can provide a stimulus for conversation about the usefulness of diagrams for precision in communication and problem solving. If it is being viewed by students it can act as the stimulus for a full workshop of activities which can be found below the video.

The actors in this video are playing themselves, physics lecturer and tutor and the conversation is not unusual as students are always asking “Why do we have to draw diagrams?”

Learning & Teaching Materials

  • The initial challenge activity and a brief lesson plan is contained in the Workshop PowerPoint.
  • The challenge activity is to draw free-body force diagrams for a few different situations as represented in a small set of photographs. At the end of the workshop the students will be expected to explain their diagrams to the rest of the class.
  • Video watching activity sheet
  • The focus activity is to match a series of photographs with previously constructed free-body force diagrams. The focus activity, if done in pairs with the 80 or so photographs scattered all over the room, usually produces a great deal of focused discussion between the students. This also gives the students practice in using the communication tools of the discipline.

The Matching activity answers can be obtained by email c.creagh@murdoch.edu.au

All videos available for use under a Creative Commons Australia CC-BY-NC licence