Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Teaching Physics in Remote Places

This year we are doing "Integrated Science" using a video course by Prof. Robert Hazen called The Joy of Science. Hazen takes a chronological approach, so we are currently learning about classical physics. In the video Hazen describes simple experiments that can be done at home. We just tried one today, trying to find the declination of a compass needle towards the Earth's North Pole using paper clips, corks and a bowl of water. Our experiment had some problems, so afterwards we went online to look up other ways we could have designed it.

One resource that popped up is from The Institute of Physics is a scientific charity devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics to all audiences, from specialists to the general public. One of their resources is an online book of experiments called Teaching Physics in Remote Places. It seems perfect for doing physics in the home or classroom -- chances are your set-up isn't any more primitive than that used by the authors of this books!