This is my second mind map in an attempt to visually display the draft Science Curriculum in England and this time the focus of the Mind Map is Energy. In my previous post on this issue I set out to see how coherently the new curriculum has been written and I suggested that depending on how difficult it would be to mind map the various parts of the curriculum could give an indication of that. I have to say that in this second Mind Map I could find quite a few key ideas that interrelated to other branches quite nicely. However, I felt that I had to separate Conservation of Energy from Dissipation of Energy, even though the new curriculum has them under the same heading (which is fine in the document I think), as I wanted to stress the importance of the Principle of Conservation of Energy. Something I was not too sure about was the inclusion of renewable energy sources and fuel resources under the Conservation and Dissipation section. As a whole I am fairly pleased with this Mind Map and I think the development of this unit is quite coherent. I might have missed something though and I value your comments in that respect.
Posts Tagged ‘Physics’
Tags: Biggerplate, conduction, Conservation, Convection, Dissipation, Education, Efficiency, Electrical, Energy, Fuel, imindmap, learning, Mind Mapping, National Curriculum, New NC, Physics, Radiation, Renewable, resources, Sources, Thermal, ThinkBuzan
Tags: Cloud Chamber, fish, iMovie, Institute of Physics, IoP, Learners, Physics, radioactivity, Rdiation, Tailers, tank
In a previous post I wrote about the Fish Tank Cloud Chamber workshop funded by IoP and organized by Cerian Angharad in Cardiff and I promised I would run one in Gloucester. Well, this evening I did and all delegates had great fun taking part in the filming of the iMovie trailer you can see below. I made using an iPad third generation and it was very easy to do, because these trailers come with the storyboard already set up for you. In fact, all the clips, places for captions and duration of the trailer are fixed, which means that you really need to focus on the message you want to convey and do it in the simplest way possible. But it also prevents you from adding too much to your video. Also, I like the fact that there is no dialogue and the message is communicated entirely through the clips and captions you create!
These are important skills for any learner and I would encourage any educator with an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch to let their pupils create these short trailers for their learning. I got the inspiration for this one and other trailers I made by the inspiring work Gavin Smart does with his learners at Priory Community School.
Tags: alpha, background, chambers, cloud, Coordinators, cosmic. rays, fish tank, Institute of Physics, IoP, Network, Physics, Radiation, radioactive, radioactivity, rod
I attended the IoP make and take workshop to build my own fish tank cloud chamber last Thursday and it was a great experience! The workshop was organised and led by Cerian Angharad and held at St Teilo’s CW School. The tank is really easy to build and quite cheap too. All you need is some sticky felt, which you stick at the top (which is actually the bottom of the tank) and soak with alcohol, a plastic fish tank, a metal tray, on which the top of the fish tank needs to be stuck to with duck tape and you’re done. The rest is a normal shallow tray that can be found in most school labs, a sheet of polystyrene to rest on the bottom of the tray and dry ice that goes between the polystyrene and the tray with the fish tank resting on it. See the photo below to have a better idea!
The rod in the middle of the tank is a radioactive welding rod which emits alpha particles. The chamber works really well and you can soon see lovely traces from the alpha particles emitter by the rod. Some of the tanks that were made also showed very clearly cosmic rays/background radiation coming into the tank from the sides.
This is one of the best workshops I have even been to and the tank is great for radioactivity demonstrations, as the whole class can gather around it and see what’s going on. I will certainly run the workshop in my area in Gloucestershire, so contact me if you are interested in attending. If you are too far from Gloucestershire, find your IoP Network Coordinator here and ask them if and when they will run this workshop in your area!
Watch the video below to get a feeling for what you will see in your tank!
Tags: Android, Apps, ASUS, BETT, BETT 2012, BETT Show, Classroom, Earth, eee pad, Google Sky Map, Gravity, My Solar System, Orbit, Physics, Planets, Science, Solar Sizer, Solar System, space, Stars, TES, Transformer
It’s been a while since my last post on Android apps for the classroom and I thought the upcoming BETT show 2012 would be a good excuse to write something about a few really interesting apps I have used to create resources about the Solar System. Another reason for blogging about this is to inform you about a series of workshops I will run on the ASUS stand at the BETT Show on the use of Android devices in Education. So, if you are going at BETT and if you are interested in how Android apps can be used in the classroom, join me any day from Tuesday 10th to Friday 13th January 2012. You can download the resources to run some of the activities described in this Blog post from this TES weblink. We will demonstrate other TES resources that can be used with Android devices at ASUS workshops and I will represent TES as the TES Science Lead starting this January, but this gives a good idea of some of the activities we will consider!
The resources in the link above were created with the ASUS Eee Pad tablet in mind, but they would work very well with other Android devices.
This app is just great! It lets you point your Android device at the sky in front of you and it shows a map of the stars and planets for that particular place and time of the year. But the most impressive feature it the Time Travel function, which lets you set a particular date and time in the past, or future, to see what the sky would look like. So, for example, you could ask your learners to describe what stars and planets Prince William and Kate would have seen on the night of their wedding. You can also search for a particular object in the sky, so if you want to find the position of Mars, you can can type Mars in the search and an arrow pointing at the planet will appear and you can then follow the arrow with your device until you find the object you searched for!
I have already blogged about this app, but I have added it to this resource because it gives good opportunities to develop Numeracy Skills in your learners by comparing magnitudes, orbital period, etc…
This app is even simpler than the previous one, but it is a great way to visualise the size of the planets to scale.
Have a look at the resource I uploaded on the TES website and leave a comment with your thoughts about it, please.
I hope to see many of you at the ASUS stand during the BETT Show.
Tags: @TESScience, Apple, Apps, Dancing, Earth, Gloucestershire, Gravity, imindmap, Innovative, Institute of Physics, IoP, iPad, iPhone, Lead, Moon, Nelson Thornes, Network, Physics, Science, TeachMeet, TES, ThinkBuzan, Times Educational Supplement, Vernier, Video, waves
Last night we had our first TeachMeet entirely dedicated to the teaching of Physics in Gloucestershire and despite the inclement weather and illnesses a few teachers from the region managed to come and give some great presentations! A particular thank you goes to Helen Rogerson (@hrogerson) who took the time to record two videos for us to watch. And that’s what we did! In fact, the TeachMeet began with Helen’s 7 minutes video which showed some great stuff she does wit their learners and parents with revision. Of particular interest to the participants was the part on Electromagnetic Induction, which sparked a series of interesting discussions and caused us to go back and watch the lovely demonstrations several times. This was indeed a lovely part of our TeachMeet that I believe stood out from others I have attended and organised in the past. In fact, it is quite easy to rush through all the presentations trying to fit everyone in and forget about allowing the participants time for discussion and to network. But last night ideas on alternative ways to use the equipment and extensions to the demos were freely flowing and created a very relaxed atmosphere from the very beginning.
Next, IoP award winner Kevin Betts showed a great demo of “Dancing Waves” on custard on the cone of a speaker. You can see his Magic in the video below.
Steve Rice was up next showing us how he uses a sparkler attached to a drill to simulate the gravitational attraction between the earth and the moon. As the sparkler spins around the drill, the sparks fly along the tangent to the circle drawn by the sparkling tip, which helps the learners visualise what would happen if the gravitational pull between the two heavenly bodies suddenly disappeared. I liked this demonstration because it allows the learners to think outside the box and stretch their understanding in the realm of the abstract.
Below is a video of these two lovely demonstrations.
After that it was my turn to talk about how I used one of the best iPhone/iPad apps I have ever come across, the Vernier Video Physics, with my learners. You can find this resources on the TES website here. It was also the first time I publicly announced my new role as Science Lead at TES commencing in January and I explained that, although I occasionally use it already, I will actively interact with the Twitter sphere using @TESScience from then.
We closed the TeachMeet with our sponsors’ raffle, which included a very generous box full of Nelson Thornes books, ranging from GCSE revision guides to a Muncaster tome 4th edition. ThinkBuzan also offered a free copy of their Mind Mapping software iMindMap 5 Ultimate (the last two links are affiliate links, so Google iMindMap 5 instead, if you are bothered by this sort of thing).
Two other teachers emailed me apologising they couldn’t attend due to illness, but they sent links to interesting stuff that they would have shared in person, if they had been there. The first is the YouTube video below about mixing colours with glow sticks shared by Bernadette Willey.
The other tool is Poll Everywhere shared by Lewis Matheson, which seems a really neat tool to use with mobile devices!
I thoroughly enjoyed myself last night and I learnt a lot (as usual) from innovative colleagues in the Gloucestershire Network. I hope to see many more at our next events in the new year.
Tags: #croesybot, Broadcast, channel, Chat, Clubs, Creative, Croesyceiliog, Education, Hash, Innovative, John Cabot Academy, Learners, learning, Live, Livestream, Motor Effect, Online, Physics, revision, Students, Taf, Twitter
After a long period of hybernation the Croesy Physics online channel is about to become active again with a very exciting project that will see Croesyceiliog Yr13 Physics Students collaborating with learners at John Cabot Academy in Bristol to create and broadcast live online revision clubs!
Helen Rogerson (@hrogerson) is John Cabot’s Head of Physics and she will support her students once a forenight in creating and broadcasting their sessions from Bristol, and I (@asober) will do the same with my students from Cwmbran. We will take it in turn to broadcast on our Croesy Physics Livestream channel and we would love to see many of you watching live and engaging with our students. In fact, there will be a 10 minutes Q&A session at the end of each event for the people who are watching from other schools, or from home. People can ask questions using the Livestream chat on the online channel, or by using the twitter hash tag #croesybot.
Our live revision clubs will be broadcast live every Tuesday between 15.15 and 15.45 and our first event will be on the 15th November with the topic “The Motor Effect”
Each session will also be available on demand after the event and we hope that our service will become a really useful revision tool for our learners as well as for students in other schools across the world!
Please support our efforts by watching, chatting, sharing, tweeting, etc…
For help on setting up a similar activity see these resources I have uploaded on the TES website.
Tags: Acting, App, App Store, Creative, D-T, D-T graphs, Displacement, Distance, Education, Graphs, Innovative, iPad, iPhone, Learners, Motion, Movement, Physics, Time, Tracker, V-T, V-T Graphs, velocity, Vernier, Vernier Video Physics, Video, Video Physics
Last week I finally got round doing something I had wanted to do with my Yr11 classes for a long time. We acted a Displacement - Time graph. This might not sound amazing to you and I have done a similar activity in the past, but this time the difference was that my learners could actually check their outcomes very quickly and without having to guess if their movements reflected the D-T graph faithfully, as they could use what I think is one of the best iPhone/iPad App for Physics, the Vernier Video Physics app!
Indeed, we could have used cameras to record the videos and upload the videos on our laptops to use with Tracker, but the versatility of an iPad and the simplicity of the Vernier Video Physics app made things very easy and intuitive.
So, what’s this activity about? Well, the learners split into groups of 3-4 and analyse the graph below.
Then, they organise themselves to act the graph. So, one person will walk along a straight line to mimic the graph, whilst the others in the group could help signposting important parts of the graph, as well as keeping the time.
You can see how the Vernier Video Physics app renders the video after tracking the object in each photogram. The images at the end are the displacement and velocity analysis after the tracking has been completed!
What do you think? Is this group representing the graph well?
Tags: absorption, audience, Blog, blogging, Creativity, Cross-phase, Effect, Emission, Energy, feedback, Innovative, Kidblog, Kidblog.org, Learners, learning, Levels, Peer assessment, Photoelectric, Photons, Physics, PowerPoint, Pupils, Students, Yr12, Yr6
I am finally finding literally 5 minutes to catch up with a few things I have been doing since the beginning of the term and I wanted to share with you how I am using kidblog.org to create collaborative feedback between different schools and cross-phase. Our Yr12 Blog is here.
I believe allowing our learners to Blog is a powerful learning strategies for a number of reasons. Firstly, our students get a real audience and are more likely to take their assignments seriously and be enthused by the thought of communicating their work to the world. That is why it is so important for them to see comments appearing on their posts, as they get the feeling that their efforts are appreciated by others! Also, comments are a powerful and simple means to peer assess each other’s work, as well as, obviously, for the teacher to leave some feedback too.
So, I introduced my Yr12 to our CroesyPhysics Blog and set a couple of assignments for them. The first is something I have been doing for the last couple of years and it is about the learners writing poems to describe the Photoelectric Effect, more about it on this previous Blog post. But the second was a collaboration between our Yr12 learners and a Yr6 class at Highlawn Primary School. In these Blog posts our learners had to explain energy levels and photon absorption and emission to an audience of 10 year old pupils. You can read the Blog post to set the assignment here. Our Yr12 students could present this Physics topic in whatever form they wanted, but it was very clear to the majority of the Bloggers that they needed to find a way to get their message across in a simple and coherent way, and that they could not assume anything, not even that the Yr6 learners would know what an electron, or an atom is!
So, I gave them a link to the PowerPoint I would have normally shown them on the topic and told them to use that and their text books to gather the information they needed to support their creations. I was pretty confident they would not copy and paste, because if they had, they would have failed to be understood by the Yr6 learners, who are reading our Blog posts and leaving comments to feedback on our students’ presentation, clarity and accuracy. It must be said that the comments we have had so far are really thorough and very well written for learners of that age! Learners at Highlawn Primary certainly know what it means to reflect on learning.
I think we’ve had some really good Blog post so far and this excercise has been useful for our learners, but I would love to hear your opinions and if you can spare a couple of minutes, please read through some of our learners’ work and leave a comment for them here! They will be thrilled to see others value their work.
Tags: Aristotle, book, Creative, edu-novel, Education, Equations, Faraday, Fascinating, Fizz, Galileo, Herschel, History of Physics, Inspiring, Laws, Learners, learning, Newton, nothing as it seems, novel, Physics, Students, Zvi Schreiber
I have the great pleasure of introducing my first Guest Blogger, Zvi Schreiber, who is a really interesting Author. He looks at the teaching and learning of Physics from a very different angle with his brand new book Fizz: Nothing as it seems.
Thanks Alessio for inviting me to Alessio’s Blog, to talk about why I chose to present the history and principles of physics in a non-traditional way: through a fictional novel, named “Fizz”.
Years ago I learned physics in the traditional way – text books, equations, lots of exercises. I loved it. But coming back to physics after years in the world of business, I found that my high school and college education had completely neglected other aspects of physics – and that those other aspects are fascinating to a wider audience who perhaps don’t like equations.
Firstly the physicists. Revisiting physics I learned more about Galileo’s mortal struggle with the Pope who had previously been a personal friend, and his battle against the entrenched two-thousand-year-old ideas of Aristotle. As the first physicist, Galileo showed incredible flare for presenting his ideas to a hostile public and willingness to risk his life.
I learned that Isaac Newton spent more time on alchemy than physics, and that his unpleasant personality may have been amplified by mercury poisoning. Michael Faraday, inventor of the electric motor and generator, was an apprentice bookbinder, the uneducated son of a blacksmith. William Herschel’s sister, overcame dwarfism and family prejudice to become an important astronomer in her own right.
These are just a few of the inspiring stories I had missed in school. The great physicists were real people and I wanted to present them as such.
Secondly many concepts in physics evoke an emotional as well as rational response. The vastness of the universe. The strange idea of action at a distance – introduced by Newton, eliminated by Einstein, reintroduced in quantum mechanics. The idea of an orderly deterministic universe attacked with the successive discoveries of entropy, chaos, and eventually random quantum fluctuations. Some hints at a possible multiverse. A novel allows me to explore Fizz’s response, as a young woman, to these weird revelations about the universe we call home.
There was an important precedent for an edu-novel – Sophie’s World – which helped me and millions of others to learn about philosophy in the 90s. I hope that now Fizz will take her turn alongside Sophie, and help a few people to learn more about our universe and about the bizarre series of people who explored it.
Zvi Schreiber is author of Fizz: Nothing is as it seems a new edu-novel about physics – see
Back to me now, Alessio , because I would like to give you my impressions about the book. I read it during the summer holidays and it was a really enjoyable and easy read. The book reads very well and it always leaves you with the need to read and learn more at the end of every chapter. I am sure it is partly thanks to Physics, but the way Fizz explores and discovers the laws of Physics is truly fascinating and a great way to learn something about the History of Physics, as well as getting a coherent overview of the laws of Physics which are all connected to each other and not a “modular exam”
I also like the fact that there are virtually no formulae, not because I don’t like equations, but because it helps the learners to focus on the processes and it reinforces Physics concepts without distracting too much from the narration. Moreover, the situations Zvi built in the novel are memorable and give you that sense of awe and amazement the Scientists mentioned in the novel must have felt in those great moments of discovery!
Another really nice aspect of the book is that the main character is a school age girl who has a genuine passion for how the universe works and she is ready to risk everything to satisfy her thirst for knowledge. This will hopefully encourage and inspire girls to pursue a Physics career!
Nothing happens randomly in Zvi’s book and even the many truly unexpected twists that occur are used as analogies to explain Physics concepts and, believe me, one of these twists you will never guess until you get to those pages
Our Yr12 and 13 will be part of a pilot project this year to test the effectiveness of Fizz’s great adventure in motivating students to learn about Physics and in raising standards. So, watch this space as I will post our learners progress and their impressions on the book.
If you have read, or are reading the book, please leave your impressions as comments to this post!
Tags: Best, British, Competition, Conservation, Creative, Education, GCSE, help, Innovative, Learners, learning, Linear, mass, momentum, O2, O2 Learn, Physics, Prize, Public, Rate, revision, support, Teacher, Teachers, U.K., velocity, Video, Vote
In this Blog I invite you to support my video entry to the O2 Learn Competition for three simple reasons:
1) I believe some of the videos that are winning the Fortnightly stages give a poor representation of Education in Britain
2) Many teachers who have submitted a video are cheating by creating false accounts to gain extra votes
3) The winning videos will be considered by the public as the best in British education, so I believe it is important that good examples are presented
So, if you like my video and you want your viewing to count and rate it, please follow the following instructions:
- Go to this website
and register (top right), or login if you are already registered. Remember you will receive an activation email and sometimes it might end up in people’s junk mail, so please check in there too!
- Login (top right) and click on this link
to watch my video
- If you like the video, please rate it by clicking on Rate this video below the video screen and give it 5 stars
Please remember that you need to be logged in for your viewing and rating to count!
As an educator I believe that engaging in these types of competitions is important to give a good representation of good practice in Education to the public. The teaching profession doesn’t always get a very good reputation from the Media and having good videos in the winning entries can help to change people’s views on teachers and Education in Britain. So, please support my entry only if you think it is a good video that would help learners to understand the topic presented!
Another way in which you could help is by spreading the word and passing on the link to this Blog post to your colleagues, friends, pupils, etc… and ask them to follow the instructions to support my entry.
Thank you in advance for your support and let me know if you are entering a video too, so I can support it!