Intermediate Mechanics Tutorials

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


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


Creative Commons License

Overview of project

The principal investigators of this project have written a series of guided inquiry tutorials for sophomore/junior level mechanics in which students work together to develop their own understanding of the physics while instructors act as facilitators rather than lecturers.  These materials serve as supplements to (rather than replacements of) standard lectures.  They are intended to address specific difficulties students have when learning the physics, and are designed to allow flexible implementation in a variety of instructional settings (lecture, studio, seminar, or laboratory).

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

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

Intermediate Mechanics Tutorials materials

  1.     Velocity-dependent forces    (2 tutorials)

  2.     Oscillations:  Simple harmonic and non-harmonic oscillations    (3 tutorials)

  3.     Oscillations:  Damped and/or forced oscillations    (4 tutorials)

  4.     Oscillations:  Phase space diagrams    (3 tutorials)

  5.     Vector force fields    (3 tutorials)

  6.     Orbital mechanics and central forces    (4 tutorials)

  7.     Non-inertial reference frames    (3 tutorials)

  8.     Generalized coordinates and Lagrangians  (2 tutorials)

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

User license

By accessing the materials on this website you are agreeing to participate in a larger research project that requires that we track your implementation of those materials.  Before proceeding further, please read about our user license here.

Tutorials are organized in the following eight (8) groups, each found on a separate page.  Navigate to each page using the links below. 

Additional materials and information

  1. Course syllabiWe offer several example course syllabi illustrating how to incorporate IMT materials in ways that meet student and instructor needs.

  2. Workshops and presentationsWe have disseminated our work through workshops and presentations at national conferences as well as in PER publications. 

  3. Connecting Meaning and Mathematics” tutorials. Prof. Dawn Meredith (University of New Hampshire) has posted online her collection of tutorials for intermediate and advanced topics in mechanics.  They complement IMT quite nicely--we encourage you to explore them!

Special acknowledgements

The quality of Intermediate Mechanics Tutorials has been significantly enhanced with the help of many faculty who have pilot-tested these materials or otherwise offered crucial feedback.  We especially wish to thank:

  1. Juliet Brosing (Pacific University)

  2. Tom Carter (College of Dupage)

  3. Hunter Close (Texas State University)

  4. Christos Deligkaris and Brant Hinrichs (Drury University)

  5. Maja Krcmar (Grand Valley State University)

  6. Daniel Marble (Tarleton State University)

  7. Dawn Meredith (Univ. of New Hampshire)

  1. Stephen Pollock (Univ. of Colorado-Boulder)

  2. Scott Schneider (Lawrence Tech University)

  3. Carolyn Sealfon (Princeton University)

  4. Alex Small (California State Polytech, Pomona)

  5. Carrie Swift (Univ. of Michigan-Dearborn)

  6. Stamatis Vokos and Lane Seeley (Seattle Pacific University)