Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


  1. What does “Ergopedia” mean?  Our company's name is Greek for learning (“pedia”) by doing (“ergo”).  This motto is also at the core of our company's instructional philosophy.
  2. What is the meaning of the Greek symbols in Ergopedia's logo?  The Ergopedia logo contains two Greek symbols: the Greek letter Є (“epsilon”), which stands for “Ergo”; and the Greek letter π (“pi”), which stands for “pedia.”

Essential Physics:

  1. What grade levels are appropriate for Essential Physics? The physics curriculum is suitable for introductory levels through AP Physics B. The curriculum has been written to satisfy 100% of state standards.
  2. What are the prerequisites for students to take Essential Physics?  Students generally have taken algebra and have covered the basic concepts of geometry and trigonometry (Pythagorean theorem, sine, cosine, and tangent) prior to taking high school physics.  Nonetheless, these mathematical topics are re-introduced in Essential Physics in order to reinforce the instruction of the other STEM disciplines.
  3. Will Essential Physics work for both my standard physics and honors physics classes?  Yes!  There are three key features in the design of the Essential Physics curriculum that will allow you to tailor the content to the level of your physics classes.  First, the spiral content structure of the book means that many concepts are introduced at a conceptual level, but brought up again later in the book in more depth.    Second, the expandable paragraphs feature of the e-Book allows the teacher to expand the curriculum for the honors students, thereby providing a deeper and more challenging course. Finally, in some chapters the state standards are covered in the first section or two, while the last section of the chapter includes a depeer and more mathematical treatment well-suited to more advanced students.
  4. Will Essential Physics work as an Advanced Placement Physics B text?  The Essential Physics curriculum covers all the major topics of the AP Physics B standards.  Some more advanced material is available to teachers in the expanded paragraphs feature, where interested students and educators can access additional text, mathematics, and multimedia features in the e-Book. (In submitting your course materials to the College Board, you may want to include a college-level text as supplementary material to satisfy the audit.)
  5. What is included in the full Essential Physics curriculum?  Essential Physics is sold with the e-Book, printed student text, teacher's edition, and an equipment kit with apparatus to conduct the investigations.  Each equipment kit is normally shared in the classroom among a small group of students working collaboratively.
  6. How many sets of laboratory equipment will I need for my classroom?  Most teachers plan on having 2–5 students work collaboratively with one set of laboratory equipment.  A typical high school physics classroom may need approximately six sets of equipment.

e-Book for Essential Physics:

  1. Do I have to install software to read your e-Book on my computer?  The e-Book requires no additional software to be installed on your computer or mobile device.  The e-Book is read using a web browser.  An Internet connection is not necessary because the e-Book can be stored directly on your computer. Alternatively, you can use an access code to read the e-Book online at http://www.essential-physics.com/.
  2. Will your e-Book run on my computer or mobile device?  The e-Book runs on virtually all computers or mobile devices; all it needs is a standard browser.  No connection to the Internet is needed.  The e-Book has been designed from the ground up to use HTML5, which has become the new standard Internet programming language for the browsers on both computers and mobile devices.  No software needs to be installed—none!—not even Flash.
  3. I hate using videos in my classroom because they always take too long to download during class time.  Won't your videos have the same problem?  All the videos and animations for Essential Physics are integrated directly into the e-Book. There is no need to access the Internet to play the videos or animations.  When you press “play” for the video, or mouse-over the animation, they play immediately because the content is already stored on your computer.
  4. How can I use your videos if I don't have a laptop projector in my classroom?  The videos are embedded directly into the e-Book itself.  Students can watch the videos in small groups, which also allows them to pause and replay the video.

Instructional Approach:

  1. What is meant by “inquiry” in your instructional philosophy?  Alan Colburn, professor of science education at California State University Long Beach, defines inquiry learning as “the creation of a classroom where students are engaged in essentially open-ended, student-centered, hands-on activities.”  Science education uses inquiry as a method of bringing hands-on investigations more frequently into the classroom setting.  One observable difference between traditional and inquiry-based learning is that in the latter students will often learn a physical principle through experience or discovery prior to receiving knowledge about it through a “lecture” format.
  2. What does guided inquiry look like in a classroom setting?  When students initially learn about electricity and circuits, they are first presented with a few circuit components, such as wires, light bulbs, batteries, and a switch.  They connect the materials in as many different configurations as they can, and record the results of each (such as whether the light bulbs light up and how brightly).  The students will have developed a conceptual understanding of closed, series, and parallel circuits prior to the teacher leading a more formal discussion of the physical concepts.
  3. When will I have time to do so many investigations when I must cover all that material in my state's standards?  Every teacher is constantly juggling what appear to be competing constraints of covering content versus engaging in hands-on activities.  The basic principle of inquiry-based learning is that students will learn the content of a topic more effectively through inquiry, which then lessens the need for teachers to engage in lecture-style instructional methods.  Ergopedia designs the curricula to cover fully the science content standards through the systems-based approach of text, multimedia, investigations, and assessments.
  4. How will I be able to do your chemistry or physics investigations?  Won't they require expensive equipment that my school doesn't have?  The chemistry and physics investigations are designed to be performed using affordable and integrated equipment kits.  The pricing for the systems package allows schools that adopt the program to receive a combined package of textbook, e-Book, investigations equipment, and teacher's support materials—all for a price lower than that of a traditional textbook alone.
  5. Are your curricula appropriate for students who are Limited English Proficient?  One problem with traditional, lecture-based instructional methods is that English Language Learners can be intimidated by the terminology of science.  Inquiry-based methods of instruction, however, offer students the opportunity to understand a concept intuitively before they are confronted with the scientific terminology.  Advanced language skills are not needed for most investigations.  Group-centered investigations also provide students with language supports through informal student-to-student interactions.  Students who have discovered the physical concepts first through inquiry are better prepared to receive the content when it is discussed subsequently in a more formal context.
  6. Are your curricula appropriate for students from low-income or other traditionally under-served populations?  The curricula have been designed to be effective instructional tools for student populations that are traditionally under-served—such as students from low-income families, students who are English Language Learners, or students at urban schools.  The focus on integrating the STEM disciplines into Essential Physics, for example, provides a real-world context that reinforces mathematics learning for students who have struggled in math.  The pricing structure of the systems-based curricula will allow schools with limited resources to purchase textbooks, and integrated laboratory equipment. This can be done within the standard budgets that cash-strapped schools would normally allot to textbooks alone.