# Teaching Science and Asperger's Syndrome

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Mordred said:

$g_{\mu\nu}=\eta_{\mu\nu}+\h_{\mu\nu}[/latex] Hi Mordred, did you mean [math][math]{g_{\mu \nu }} = {\eta _{\mu \nu }} + {h_{\mu \nu }}$[/math]

or

${g_{\mu \nu }} = {\eta _{\mu \nu }} + {\hbar _{\mu \nu }}$

Edited by studiot

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3 hours ago, Mordred said:

A tool to better help with the physics end of things is to use as many visual aids and simplified experiments as possible.

For example Newton's laws becomes easy to visualize when you have a Newton spring scale.

The more enjoyable a lesson is made through imaginative simple experiments the better the lesson sinks in.

Something like GR would be trickier animations tend to help but a personal teaching aid I have used to help students understand the statement.

[math] g_{\mu\nu}=\eta_{\mu\nu}+\h_{\mu\nu}[/latex]

Was to take three clear sheets of plastic. Draw a Euclidean  vector field on one sheet. Then draw a permutation such as a H+ gravity wave polarity on the second sheet then with the third sheet the resulting vector changes.

Don't worry about exactness the idea is to get the generalized idea across.

You must be a very good teacher, Mordred. Thanks for the tips. The boy has no problem visualizing things, though.

He takes brief spells of time processing the explanation in which he seems to be lost in his mind, I hear him mumbling something, and ends up shouting "now I understand!!!" It makes my day.

2 hours ago, studiot said:

Hi Mordred, did you mean  [...]
gμν=ημν+μν

He meant h with no bar for linearized gravity. For some reason h is universally used as the first order corrections to the metric tensor. I've never seen them written with any other symbol.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, joigus said:

He meant h with no bar for linearized gravity. For some reason h is universally used as the first order corrections to the metric tensor. I've never seen them written with any other symbol.

Correct I also have never seen any other symbol used.

5 hours ago, joigus said:

You must be a very good teacher, Mordred. Thanks for the tips. The boy has no problem visualizing things, though.

I learned instructional technique through the military. Visual aids was one of the numerous techniques taught as well as avoiding monotone speaking. An instructor that can verbally describe any lesson and sound enthusiastic about the subject helps to keep a student alert.

The combination of the two plus interactive activity allows greater retention as it involves the numerous senses such as sight and sound etc.

The demonstrations also goes along way to show the practical applications behind the physics lessons. This gives the student a greater awareness of how useful those lessons can be applied in everyday life.

Another useful demonstration for gravity is to take a magnet placed on the ground or table. The a stick with two metal balls mounted with string at each end of the stick.

Slowly lower the metal balls to the magnet and when the distance between the two metal balls begin to close in distance  to each other. You then describe to the student the tidal force of gravity ( works well to describe how a centre of mass system affects freefall paths in parallel transport and how curvature affects parallel paths.).

Lol I also often use a sink of water with semi bouyant  particles of varying sizes to demonstrate density wave theorem for Spiral galaxies and the rings of Saturn.

It greatly helps cut through some of the complex mathematics.

It also makes the lessons more enjoyable for both student and instructor.

Edited by Mordred

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On 6/13/2020 at 5:49 AM, Mordred said:

Visual aids was one of the numerous techniques taught as well as avoiding monotone speaking. An instructor that can verbally describe any lesson and sound enthusiastic about the subject helps to keep a student alert.

I'm not a monotone speaker, although one of the best teachers I had at university was a real drone.

I mostly use some mime to teach, as a visual aid. Very general teaching tips those you're giving me. Can be applied in lots of cases, me thinks. Although I once had a student who suffered what was announced to me as some kind of geometric dyslexia. I'd never heard of such a thing. We had to circumvent anything that was visual. I can hardly remember a more difficult teaching experience than that. I don't think I did very well TBH.

Going back to my student, which I will name A. A couple of days ago we started dealing with optimization problems. We got stuck, as the problems require separation in two very different steps. The 1st one for insight (setting the problem's variables, relating them and writing down the function in terms of one final variable); and the 2nd one, more mechanical, taking the derivatives and solving for the stationary point, etc. Now, there came my mistake. I should have paid more attention to @iNow, because I didn't chose the problems very carefully beforehand, which should have been in a progression from less to more difficult, especially when it comes to insight, which is the most difficult part. Unfortunately both problems were also "mechanically" difficult.

Something quite amazing then happened, because A told me after having been pointed out by me what the mistake and the reason for his confusion were, that we'd better turn page and go for another problem (without having properly finished them at all!!!) I said to myself "what the hell?" But then what @iNow and @naitche  told me must have resonated in my mind, because I suddenly relaxed about it, thought "what the hell!" and offered him two more problems, much better suited for a warming-up stage. It worked wonders! I just wanted to tell you, people, that your advice has been priceless. Thanks a lot. And A thanks all of you too, I'm sure.

It's as if A were telling me: 'don't you remember what these people have told you, you idiot?

All your contributions are helping me a lot.

As A would say,

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Posted (edited)
On 6/12/2020 at 5:34 AM, Markus Hanke said:

Well, I'm not too sure what 'mild' in this context really means, but I'm certainly high functioning, and require no intervention or assistance to live a normal life. This is mostly because I have learned since childhood to mask my autistic traits to such a degree that most people won't be able to tell at first glance that I'm neurodivergent.

In my case, I find it easy to express myself in written form; however, if we were in the same room, and I was asked to explain some GR concept verbally, then that would be much harder for me, especially if I didn't have time to prepare beforehand. And the subtleties and complexities of casual social situations will forever remain a mystery to me, even though I can outwardly play certain roles if necessary.

This is a difficult subject, because the spectrum is so wide. Personally, I never thought of myself as having a disorder of any kind - I think of myself as neurodivergent. As being differently abled, rather than disabled. I consider it a gift, and if I was being reincarnated, and somehow given the choice, I would without a shadow of a doubt choose to be on the spectrum again, since for me the positives greatly outweigh the (nonetheless very real) challenges. I do recognise though that many others on the spectrum would disagree, since their autistic traits are more challenging for them, and they suffer from various comorbidities, such as ADHD and SPDs.

I can relate with every word here.  Bravo!  I'm 49 and didn't even know I was on the spectrum until about 3 years ago.

Back to OP.  I don't know how far you have gotten with your student but I know when I was a kid in high school and after I had mastered trig and and trig based physics I had a giant shock, a trauma really.  At that time, calculus and that progression in physics felt like someone telling me that "everything you have just learned isn't correct". I thought I knew precisely how most things worked, but then I was told to  start over from scratch where everything is much messier.  I crashed and burned.  My academic career never really recovered until a a few years ago.

Break the news to the gently and when you change from one way of thinking to another, make sure they understand why.  Also they should know that they do not need to forget or disregard the previous way of thinking because it is still useful. I hope this helps.

Edited by JGNLBCA

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On 7/2/2020 at 8:26 PM, JGNLBCA said:

I can relate with every word here.  Bravo!  I'm 49 and didn't even know I was on the spectrum until about 3 years ago.

Back to OP.  I don't know how far you have gotten with your student but I know when I was a kid in high school and after I had mastered trig and and trig based physics I had a giant shock, a trauma really.  At that time, calculus and that progression in physics felt like someone telling me that "everything you have just learned isn't correct". I thought I knew precisely how most things worked, but then I was told to  start over from scratch where everything is much messier.  I crashed and burned.  My academic career never really recovered until a a few years ago.

Break the news to the gently and when you change from one way of thinking to another, make sure they understand why.  Also they should know that they do not need to forget or disregard the previous way of thinking because it is still useful. I hope this helps.

Thanks for sharing. +1. I don't have time now, but I'll get back to you tomorrow, probably.

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On 7/2/2020 at 8:26 PM, JGNLBCA said:

I can relate with every word here.  Bravo!  I'm 49 and didn't even know I was on the spectrum until about 3 years ago.

Back to OP.  I don't know how far you have gotten with your student but I know when I was a kid in high school and after I had mastered trig and and trig based physics I had a giant shock, a trauma really.  At that time, calculus and that progression in physics felt like someone telling me that "everything you have just learned isn't correct". I thought I knew precisely how most things worked, but then I was told to  start over from scratch where everything is much messier.  I crashed and burned.  My academic career never really recovered until a a few years ago.

Break the news to the gently and when you change from one way of thinking to another, make sure they understand why.  Also they should know that they do not need to forget or disregard the previous way of thinking because it is still useful. I hope this helps.

Yes, it helps. Thank you. Every bit of information that all of you are giving me helps. People on the spectrum, as well as people who've had experience with it. It's helped me anticipate many things and assess the emotional breakdowns when they've come.

In the case of A, only once we've had an emotional breakdown. It was due to an obsessive series of thoughts in relation to something a classmate told him. Today we've had a similar episode, but it's been so much easier to control. Tomorrow he's doing his maths and physics exam. Everything seems to be going very satisfactorily. His family are doing a great work, I must say.

I'm amazed that you discovered it so late... I'm sure there are many people out there in their 40's + that weren't properly diagnosed.

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16 hours ago, joigus said:

I'm amazed that you discovered it so late... I'm sure there are many people out there in their 40's + that weren't properly diagnosed.

It took more than 10 years of sober observation and reflection to figure it out for myself.  My life is better knowing. Early diagnosis is better now, I suppose, if you have access to health care.  Testing now is easy and painless if anybody is wondering for themselves.

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