*In this section, Dr. Mobolaji Williams describes how his experiences teaching* Introduction to Oscillations and Waves *in the summer of 2017 informed his teaching of* Introduction to Statistical Physics *the following summer.*

My experience teaching *Introduction to Oscillations and Waves* made clear that the students found some activities and materials more helpful than others. For example, the students seemed to really like one particular session where I gave them some problems for a mid-term review, split them up into various groups, and then let them work out the problems on a blackboard. So when I taught *Introduction to Statistical Physics* the following year, I added “workshop sessions” where students did these blackboard sessions as a way to collaboratively learn topics on phase transitions and Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC).

In the opposite direction, in teaching *Oscillations and Waves,* I included two supplementary notes that I did not repeat the following year. One note discussed the importance of doing algebra before substituting in numbers for physics calculations. “Algebra before numbers (PDF)” is generally an important point for physics classes, but I realized it was moot in a physics class which was primarily theoretical and where everything was pretty much “algebra” (or analytical calculations) from start to finish. The other note discussed how to check your work through dimensional analysis and limiting cases. Such checks are great to have, but I realized students struggled to apply them out of context and it was better to introduce them through specific problems.

More generally, the experience of having high school students successfully learn a challenging subject like *Oscillations and Waves* (which has aspects of linear algebra, partial differential equations, and Fourier series) gave me confidence that similar sets of students could learn advanced topics in Statistical Physics, such as MCMC and saddle points approximations which students might not ordinarily see unless they went to grad school.