Oral Presentation for Physics 104, Summer 2003

Guidelines for Oral Presentations

You and your partner's presentation (divide the actual presentation between the two of you) should be about 15 min long and should focus on one object/device from the world around you and identify within that object several different physical concepts that make the object what it is. You should describe what these physical concepts are and how they contribute to the behavior of the object. Well chosen objects will involve physical concepts that range from mechanics to electricity to heat to optics. However, avoid an object that is so broad that you can only describe a tiny piece of it.

You should be able to cover the main structure of the object in enough detail to make the audience feel like you actually understand "how it works" overall. Be creative. The grade you receive will reflect how well your presentation conveys an overall understanding of how the object works, including a fair amount of specificity. Don't be vague or mushy. In the physical world, there really are correct and incorrect statements.

For example, imagine that you were talking about windsurfing. You should note that its behavior involves buoyancy (it floats), drag (it has a top speed), friction (your feet stay on it), inclined planes (the keel and sail), and various forces (the wind, your arms, the water on the keel). You should describe how these various concepts create the specific behavior you see in the windsurfer (e.g. how buoyancy keeps the board from sinking and what changes in the buoyancy, up or down, might do to the behavior of the boat.) You should describe how the forces of the wind and the water work together to accelerate the windsurfer in a particular direction. You might describe why you can't go directly into the wind, no matter how hard you try.

You are encouraged to cite a reference or two, written, on the internet or a knowledgeable person (e.g. a repairperson or an engineer), based upon which you have gathered some information for your presentation.

Try to keep the presentation well structured and fairly specific. Please don't ramble. You are free to use transparencies, blackboard, pictures, and other audio or visual aids to bring home your point. If it is appropriate, safe and if you wish to do so, bring the device or activity to class. Types of subjects to avoid:

- "A radio wave" (too specific - no range of concepts)

- "A city" (too broad - every possible principle)

- "A vehicle" (too vague)

- "Pumps" (too focused on a principle rather than an object -- try a water pump instead)

Physics 104 is a physics course and your presentation will be judged according to how effective it was at explaining the physics and physical concepts that make the object work. In particular, full credit will go to those who get right to work discussing physical concepts in their object and work efficiently to cover many of the important ways in which physics contributes to the workings of their object. Progressively lower grades will be given to those that answer only some of the above aspects, e.g. not discussing physical concepts, discussing only a few physical concepts, have significant mistakes in them, wasting too much space on non-physics issues such as history, users' manuals, description, or engineering instructions, etc.

More Advice: For students belonging to Group I (to present on June 20), you must have your project be approved by me at the latest, by Friday June 11). Present to me 2-3 proposals and then we can discuss which is the best.