In reading one of Kelly O’Shea’s posts, Extra Tests, Bundled Objectives, and Changes for Next Year, I was struck by the number of unexplained acronyms there were. Looking through posts by other Modeling Instruction advocates, I noticed that they all used the same acronyms: the acronyms seem to be a standard part of the training in Modeling Instruction—a secret code that lets people know you are part of the fraternity (or sorority, in Kelly’s case). Do you have to learn the secret handshake as well?
I wonder how much the acronym shorthand helps the Modeling Instruction teachers talk to each other and how much of a barrier the arcane lore is for other teachers to pick up the methods of Modeling Instruction. Do other physics teachers use these acronyms?
I attempted to translate the acronyms, based on the usage in Kelly’s post. In a few cases, I had to go elsewhere to find other uses, as I couldn’t guess from just Kelly’s usage.
- Constant Velocity Particle Model
- Balanced Force Particle Model
- Newton’s Third Law (or Newton’s Three Laws?)
- Free Body Diagram
- Constant Acceleration Particle Model
- Unbalanced Force Particle Model
- Momentum Model
- Center of Mass Model
- Projectile Motion Particle Model
- Energy Transfer Model
- Centripetal Force Particle Model (I guessed this wrong the first time—I thought the C was for “constant”.)
- Uniform Circular Motion
- Momentum and Energy Transfer (more commonly called “collisions”, I believe)
Elsewhere I’ve also seen
- Conservation of Energy and Momentum
- Conservation of Angular Momentum
Incidentally, the Matter and Interactions text, which is sometimes cited as ideal for Modeling Instruction of calculus-based physics, does not use these acronyms, preferring more English-like terms such as “Momentum Principle”.