FBD, chant with me!

I use the odd rhyme and other mnemonics in my teaching, including online last year asking my class to turn on their microphones and all repeat after me:

“I solemnly swear, to draw the forces, all the forces, and nothing but the forces, on my free  body diagrams. So help me John”. (John is my co-lecturer – and it sounded better than “so help me Kate”). 

But after pondering the dVerse prompt to meet the bar with  a chant, I now have something bigger and… maybe…better… for this year’s cohort:

Now I know ’cause Kate told me

Now I know ‘cause Kate told me

I must master free body

I must master free body

Diagrams that show each force

Diagrams that show each force

If I want to pass this course

If I want to pass this course

Name them!?

Friction

Normal…

Tension!

I will not forget mg

I will not forget mg

That’s the force of gravity

That’s the force of gravity

I will not neglect friction

I will not neglect friction

If a pass is my mission

If a pass is my mission

Newton’s laws!?

N1,

N2…

N3!

I will not put forces on

I will not put forces on

Where those forces don’t belong

Where those forces don’t belong

N3 pairs can not be shown

N3 pairs can not be shown

On one FBD alone

On one FBD alone

Equation!?

F (A on B)

F(B on A)

minus!

If I want to show nett force?

If I want to show nett force?

K’netic diagram of course!

K’netic diagram of course!

Never on an FBD

Never on an FBD

Or Kate and John will yell at me.

Or Kate and John will yell at me.

On a KD?!

F(nett)

and…

a!

Air drag I will not ignore

Air drag I will not ignore

Unless I’m sure it’s bugger-all

Unless I’m sure it’s bugger-all

If I can’t identify

If I can’t identify

A force’s source, it don’t apply.

A force’s source, it don’t apply.

Centrifugal?

Not

a

force!

Now I know my FBDs,

Now I know my FBDs,

my FBDS are sure to please!

my FBDS are sure please!

When I draw them in the quiz,

When I draw them in the quiz,

John will see I know my biz!

John will see I know my biz!

What’ll you draw?

F

B

Ds!

We’re back face to face, and I think a hundred students chanting would sound pretty good. But I wonder what they’d write on my teaching evaluations at the end of semester…  

31 Comments

Filed under poem

31 responses to “FBD, chant with me!

  1. M

    holey finoley. Maybe I would have done better in Physics had I learned such a verse. (I lived close by the Livermore Laboratory in California until recently – the city has an annual ‘Poetry in a Test Tube’ contest each Spring. Wonder if this could force its way in?)

  2. You are a teaching force to be reckoned with! I read it and understood bits and bobs. I enjoyed the image of your students responding to you. 🤣🤣. And I enjoyed your mixing of science and poetry. And I realized that I would have to ask my husband to decode it. 🤣🤣

    • Nice pun! 😀 I’d love to know what he thinks!

      • Every worked example I start by asking them “what do we do first?” To which the response, within a few weeks from almost everyone is “read the question”, followed by “what do we do next?” – “draw a diagram?”.
        But one year someone yelled out “cry!”, and it was picked up by the whole class for the rest of semester. So then I had to after “and after we’ve cried?” 😀

  3. I love the idea of a hundred students chanting this! And I think you’ve taught me something: can I join your class? It sounds like fun!

  4. writingwhatnots

    Can you imagine … How great would that be with all your students chanting this. Most of it went over my head, that didn’t stop me enjoying it 😊

  5. Ah, takes me back to my first course in Engineering Mechanics
    Way to chant it out.

  6. sean came back
    never was alas and alack
    and algernon
    lectured
    about things
    such as free radicals
    and illustrious predecessors~

  7. I remember the days when I taught quantum mechanics to engineering students… a chant to learn the topic would have been great, I can only imagine how that would be? You have to get your students to do this chant!

    • I used to teach physics to science and engineering students goo. And that included a bit of quantum. I didn’t have any chants for that, but I did have a portal to a parallel universe… A box painted black inside with a 45degree flat mirror, that opened both on the front and top. I’d put a white bear in the top, open the front to show it had fallen into a parallel universe, then close it and reach in the top and pull out a brown bear. 😀 Sadly engineering mechanics is pretty dull – there is little excuse for magic tricks.

  8. Beverly Crawford

    A chant could be a useful tool. I learned catch phrases to remember how to spell geography and arithmetic. (“George Ethel’s old grandfather rode a pig home yesterday”, and “A rat in the house might eat the ice cream”). They’re still safely cnsconced in the attic of my brain!!

    • They do stay, don’t they! I remember “Richard of York gave battle in vain” for the colours of the rainbow, from primary school. I never did manage to memorise the rhyme for which months have how many days, but I count across my knuckles for that.

  9. Your chant poem ranks right up there among the best! I also have used chant phrases to remember important data …. cheers!

  10. Fascinating chant poem Kate Wison. I loved physics. Influenced by poetics, seems you would be a wonderful teacher — I’d enjoy doing your chant… just don’t make me memorize it… 🙂

  11. Mnemonics work! Your students will thank you years down the road. I bet if you were to incentivize it by saying you want to record them all chanting it at once for a poet pub you hang out at, they would be chomping at the bit to get the chance to show off 🙂

  12. You have put a lot of effort into this. The concept came across well. Well done…….

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