Tutorials on generalized coordinates and Lagrangians

Generalized coordinates

Tutorial (.pdf)

Homework (.pdf)

All materials (~350KB .zip,

    .docx and .pdf)

Tutorial title

Emphasis (what do students do?)

Links to materials

Distinguish coordinates describing (Newtonian) forces can those describing motion; recognize the role of constraints in describing the evolution of a system

Use productive intuitions to develop formal mathematical language for defining generalized coordinates

The Lagrangian

Contact information for co-PIs

Bradley S. Ambrose

Department of Physics

118 Padnos Hall

Grand Valley State University

Allendale, MI 49401

Tel.:  616-331-2524

FAX:  616-331-3740

Email:  ambroseb@gvsu.edu

Michael C. Wittmann

Department of Physics and Astronomy

5709 Bennett Hall

University of Maine

Orono, ME  04401-5709

Tel.:  207-581-1237

FAX:  207-581-3410

Email:  wittmann@umit.maine.edu

Perform a step-by-step analysis—defining generalized coordinates, writing down Lagrangian, and solving for equations of motion—of the Atwood’s machine

Reflect upon similarities and differences between Newtonian and Lagrangian methods of solution

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Go back to IMT home pageIMT.html

Sponsored in part by NSF grants DUE-0441426 and DUE-0442388

Tutorial (.pdf)

Homework (.pdf)

All materials (~600KB .zip,

    .docx and .pdf)


Intermediate Mechanics Tutorials are modeled after: 

  1. Tutorials in Introductory Physics, L.C. McDermott P.S. Shaffer, and the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington (Prentice Hall, 2002)

  1. Activity-Based Tutorials, M.C. Wittmann, R.N. Steinberg, E.F. Redish, and the University of Maryland Physics Education Research Group (Wiley, 2004 and 2005)