A Couple More Nuggets

Thomas doesn’t know which week it is; thinking there is one more week of term he drags Robin to his garage to test some vacuum cannon upgrades. Thomas and Robin also look back through the podcast’s second season, and forward to a possible season 3.

A Tight Collar

Thomas has been experimenting with the collars that are used to join vacuum cannon spec pipes. After initial excitement (described in the podcast) Thomas does some further testing (described in an addendum) and finds that they don’t seal perfectly when pushed on dry and that the hole in the middle is slightly smaller than a table tenis ball (which probably doesn’t matter). The collars can be cut in to slices to make round flanges with three benefits:

  1. Greater surface area for the tape to grip
  2. The potential for “reloading” the tape off-line whilst another shot is prepared (one of the issues with the cannon is the pfaff of taping it up in the lesson
  3. Easier reloading when you forget the ball!

The slices can also be used as a mechanical support for the “gold standard” flange – if you have managed to persuade tech. to make you them.

Thank you. It’s Been… Emotional

There are so many people to thank. We would not do this without *you* dear listener. The emails we get cheer us up and keep us going. We have had so many guests; thank you to you for giving up your time and being so flexible. (Special mention here to Miss Neutrino who happily rerecorded the podcast after Thomas didn’t press the right button). Thanks to Patrick Kaplo, who has become a good friend and who we were very disappointed not to meet face to face this Spring. Finally, thanks to our families, who think we are bonkers but wave us off to our respective cupboard and garage each week.

…but most of all, thank YOU for taking time to listen and – far more importantly – for teaching physics. We are privileged to teach the engineers, physicists, geologists … of the future, and it’s a future that is a lot brighter thanks to your hard work. Have a great summer!

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Please share ideas or successes – or indeed questions – on our Facebook Page: https://fb.me/physicstp .  You can also message us via our website contact form at the.physicsteachingpodcast.com, Twitter @physicstp, email using  the address given in the podcast (if we remember) or by leaving a voice memo using WhatsApp or Telegram to the phone number in our Twitter profile, +44 7898 814716 (don’t call the number, nobody will answer, just hold down the microphone icon and speak your message or upload an mp3 or ogg). Don’t forget to tell us your name because we may use your audio in a future episode.

The music we use remains One legged equilibrist polka by Circus Homunculus. Occasionally we also use Cantina Rag by Jackson F. Smith.

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Spend spend spend!

Jonathan Shaw joins us to talk over your suggestions for essential physics kit.

What will the well-dressed physics lab be wearing this year? Jonathan Shaw secured £53,000 of funding to kit out his physics department and asked Thomas and Robin to throw this over to the physics-teaching hive mind, and you did not disappoint! We had some fantastic suggestions, and some surprises.

Power packs or data loggers? An observatory or a coffee machine? Where would you invest if you had budget for kit. The consensus that money would be best spent on a teacher and / or a technician was established early, but Jonathan’s budget is specifically earmarked for physics equipment and so we went through series of suggestions.

We also ran a Twitter poll in preparation for the episode and this is what you said should be number one on Jonathan’s list.

  • Powerpacks 57%
  • multimeters 16%
  • oscilloscope 16%
  • other 12%

It’s our last podcast of the year next week, but we’ll be back with season 3 in September… and kicking off with a special physics superstar guest!

LINKS

Wolfson Foundation – the source of most of Jonathan’s grant.

Vernier Dynamics system

CASTLE electric circuits

Physics Toolbox Sensor App

PhyPhox sensor app

SciChem PSUs

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Please share ideas or successes – or indeed questions – on our Facebook Page: https://fb.me/physicstp .  You can also message us via our website contact form at the.physicsteachingpodcast.com, Twitter @physicstp, email using  the address given in the podcast (if we remember) or by leaving a voice memo using WhatsApp or Telegram to the phone number in our Twitter profile, +44 7898 814716 (don’t call the number, nobody will answer, just hold down the microphone icon and speak your message or upload an mp3 or ogg). Don’t forget to tell us your name because we may use your audio in a future episode.

The music we use remains One legged equilibrist polka by Circus Homunculus. Occasionally we also use Cantina Rag by Jackson F. Smith.

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Sharing Is Caring

Dr Peter Edmonds (@edmunds_dr) joins us to talk about sharing resources, ways to spend other peoples’ money (kitting out a department) and Archimedes.

Peter is one of those special people who is a finisher. Dissatisfied with the resources available to him in his trainee year, Peter set about creating his own resources. Not only that, he shared them through his web site, sciencedoctor.school.blog. His one problem with all this #sharingiscaring? The endless requests for the answers. If you use the resources and there are no answers, then please send them to him.

From Peter’s web site: “Each of the topics contains: A booklet that consists of core notes, worksheets and exam questions (all but the waves topic have answers), Many, many freely downloadable worksheets (answers contained within the answered booklet documents) and there are also *lots* of revision resources and some maths in physics resources also.

Peter’s magnum opus is complete

Thomas says he will put a link to Peter’s site on the resources aggregator we host, resources.physicsteachingpodcast.com. Peter also suggests ways of spending Jonathan Shaw’s £50,000 on Physics equipment – his ideal would be to spend £10,000 on one big ticket item. Thomas is sceptical, Robin delighted.

Finally, Peter’s Practical in Memoriam is a beautiful way of making one of the less inspiring practicals (density) more appealing.

Links

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Please share ideas or successes – or indeed questions – on our Facebook Page: https://fb.me/physicstp .  You can also message us via our website contact form at the.physicsteachingpodcast.com, Twitter @physicstp, email using  the address given in the podcast (if we remember) or by leaving a voice memo using WhatsApp or Telegram to the phone number in our Twitter profile, +44 7898 814716 (don’t call the number, nobody will answer, just hold down the microphone icon and speak your message or upload an mp3 or ogg). Don’t forget to tell us your name because we may use your audio in a future episode.

The music we use remains One legged equilibrist polka by Circus Homunculus. Occasionally we also use Cantina Rag by Jackson F. Smith.

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Become a YouTuber

Rachel Gray (@PhysicsRachel) joins us to talk about her low tech YouTube videos and also to discuss how Friend of the Podcast Jonathan Shaw should spend his large grant from the Wolfson Foundation to kit out his Physics department.

Rachel’s journey is one that will be familiar to a lot of locked-down teachers: toying with video lessons has got you curious about using YouTube as a lesson resource. Rachel tells us what she’s learned about getting yourself online. Empowering stuff and some great advice from Rachel about how to make a resource that will be of lasting value in your classroom.

Spending other people’s money is always fun, so can you give us your recommendation for kit purchases? Jonathan Shaw has asked the hive mind to give him some ideas on what to spend his budget on kitting out his physics labs. Use the form below to let us know what you think is most important…

Join in!

Please share ideas or successes – or indeed questions – on our Facebook Page: https://fb.me/physicstp .  You can also message us via our website contact form at the.physicsteachingpodcast.com, Twitter @physicstp, email using  the address given in the podcast (if we remember) or by leaving a voice memo using WhatsApp or Telegram to the phone number in our Twitter profile, +44 7898 814716 (don’t call the number, nobody will answer, just hold down the microphone icon and speak your message or upload an mp3 or ogg). Don’t forget to tell us your name because we may use your audio in a future episode.

The music we use remains One legged equilibrist polka by Circus Homunculus. Occasionally we also use Cantina Rag by Jackson F. Smith.

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The Doctor Will Teach You Now

Friend of the podcast and 40 year old NQT @Jo_Moore_Sci joins us to talk about her winding path to Physics teaching.

Jo is a career-changer from a medical background who kindly agreed to join us to chat about her experience of teaching physics. Jo is really enjoying teaching the subject despite it being deemed ‘out of specialism’ for her. Jo is an inspirational example for teachers who may be new to physics, and her message: enjoy it! Don’t worry about your mistakes, and take advantage of the support provided by the IOP, Ogden Trust, Physics Partners… oh, and the podcast, of course! There are some links below to helpful sites for non-specialists.

If you stumble across this podcast and you are considering teaching as a career, we’ve included some useful links below.

Links

TalkPhysics – IOP forums with a vast range of discussion topics and helpful specialists on hand to answer questons

Ogden Trust – Supporting physics teaching in schools via partnerships, resources and promoting teaching and learning

Physics Partners – partnerships of schools in England aimed at supporting physics teaching

Get Into Teaching – The government’s site promoting teaching with information about routes into the classroom

The Brilliant Club – The “Researchers in Schools” programme offers a unique route into teaching for those with a PhD

Now Teach – aims to help career changes into teaching.

Join in!

Please share ideas or successes – or indeed questions – on our Facebook Page: https://fb.me/physicstp .  You can also message us via our website contact form at the.physicsteachingpodcast.com, Twitter @physicstp, email using  the address given in the podcast (if we remember) or by leaving a voice memo using WhatsApp or Telegram to the phone number in our Twitter profile, +44 7898 814716 (don’t call the number, nobody will answer, just hold down the microphone icon and speak your message or upload an mp3 or ogg). Don’t forget to tell us your name because we may use your audio in a future episode.

The music we use remains One legged equilibrist polka by Circus Homunculus. Occasionally we also use Cantina Rag by Jackson F. Smith.

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Uncertainties

Dr Dave Farmer joins us to talk about uncertainties.

The tweet that started it all

Friend of the podcast Dave Farmer returns to talk about a subject to strike fear into any physics teacher’s heart: uncertainty! We peel away some layers of complexity to reveal… more layers of complexity! Having worked with a lot of exam boards’ A-level specs over the last few years, Dave recommends reading the mark schemes and looking for examples of what your particular exam board recommends. Whether we are talking scale resolution, combining uncertainties or ascertaining the gradient of a graph with error bars, we couldn’t agree on any of them. But don’t despair, there’s a lot of uncertainty about uncertainty, so just work out what your exam board require and after that, let your students develop their ideas.

We also emphasise that all of these methods are estimations and approximations: rigorous statistical consideration of uncertainty is a scientific career in itself, so inevitably A-level is just going to scratch the surface.

Finally we celebrate a physics teaching hero: take a bow Dr Peter Edmunds the Science Doctor who has shared an immense catalogue of resource for physics at all stages. Stuck for some resources? You’ll find something on Peter’s excellent site – link below. Why not fill your boots and then buy Pete a coffee?

Links

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Please share ideas or successes – or indeed questions – on our Facebook Page: https://fb.me/physicstp .  You can also message us via our website contact form at the.physicsteachingpodcast.com, Twitter @physicstp, email using  the address given in the podcast (if we remember) or by leaving a voice memo using WhatsApp or Telegram to the phone number in our Twitter profile, +44 7898 814716 (don’t call the number, nobody will answer, just hold down the microphone icon and speak your message or upload an mp3 or ogg). Don’t forget to tell us your name because we may use your audio in a future episode.

The music we use remains One legged equilibrist polka by Circus Homunculus. Occasionally we also use Cantina Rag by Jackson F. Smith.

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A Gimmicky Demo Fan

Robin and Thomas meet John Hudson, a self confessed gimmick demo fan who also makes pdf interactives.

Links

Wall-to-wall gimmicky demos on this week’s podcast as we welcome John Hudson. Although we call them gimmicky, nothing could be farther from the truth: John introduces us to some great experiments and demos that are crammed full of physics to inspire and talk about.

Don’t forget, if you are looking for resources, there are loads on the TES website, so why not take a look, or even better: share a resource that you are proud of so that others can benefit.

Join in!

Please share ideas or successes – or indeed questions – on our Facebook Page: https://fb.me/physicstp .  You can also message us via our website contact form at the.physicsteachingpodcast.com, Twitter @physicstp, email using  the address given in the podcast (if we remember) or by leaving a voice memo using WhatsApp or Telegram to the phone number in our Twitter profile, +44 7898 814716 (don’t call the number, nobody will answer, just hold down the microphone icon and speak your message or upload an mp3 or ogg). Don’t forget to tell us your name because we may use your audio in a future episode.

The music we use remains One legged equilibrist polka by Circus Homunculus. Occasionally we also use Cantina Rag by Jackson F. Smith.

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Bits and Bobs

Robin asks Thomas what the bits and bobs were he sent home to his A-Level students. What would you send? Tell us by tweeting @physictp #tptpbitsandbobs

Links

Thanks to Frank Noschese for pointing us at the “String and Sticky Tape Physics” PDFs: http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/edge-one.pdf and http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/edge-two.pdf .

We also mentioned Laura Pankratz’s speed of sound measurements with a bottle. There are similar experiments here https://www.thenakedscientists.com/get-naked/experiments/blowing-bottles and here https://www.physicslessons.com/xlab-speedsound.html If anyone can find a good set of instructions for how to do the measurements with home kit (and video it pleeease ) then we would love to promote it!

Also, we couldn’t find the experiment Thomas refers to where you tie weights together so that they pull the next one off a drop and end up with string spacing such that the sounds of the weights hitting the floor are regular. If you can come up with a good story as to how this might work at home, let us know!

Join in!

Please share ideas or successes – or indeed questions – on our Facebook Page: https://fb.me/physicstp .  You can also message us via our website contact form at the.physicsteachingpodcast.com, Twitter @physicstp, email using  the address given in the podcast (if we remember) or by leaving a voice memo using WhatsApp or Telegram to the phone number in our Twitter profile, +44 7898 814716 (don’t call the number, nobody will answer, just hold down the microphone icon and speak your message or upload an mp3 or ogg). Don’t forget to tell us your name because we may use your audio in a future episode.

The music we use remains One legged equilibrist polka by Circus Homunculus. Occasionally we also use Cantina Rag by Jackson F. Smith.

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KEEP Teaching

Thomas and Robin are back, locked down, but still exploring new ways of teaching physics. Thomas has been exploring the potential (and limitations of) Microsoft Forms and has found a collection of shared resources at https://groups.io/g/PhysicsQuizzes. There’s a lot of power here to help you remotely assess your students’ learning, but a few gotchas too.

We are delighted to talk to Mark Whalley, IOP Education Manager, former headteacher, and of course, a physics teacher. Robin caught up with him to chat about KEEP Teaching, a project funded by the EEF, run by the IOP, and evaluated by UCL that is looking to find out what will keep early-career physics teachers in the classroom. If you are a physics or engineering graduate, taking up an NQT post in September (or a school hiring such an NQT) get in touch via the link above to see if you can take part!

Thomas was surprised that Randomised Control Trials are happening in education, but the EEF has been doing a vast amount in this area to put some quantitative evidence behind a whole raft of educational interventions. The results are fascinating and can be found in the EEF’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit. It makes for some interesting reading, and wherever you stand on RCTs, we hope you’ll agree that the KEEP Teaching results will be powerful evidence for persuading policymakers to do more to protect our wonderful subject.

Have a wonderful half term everyone!

Join in!

Please share ideas or successes – or indeed questions – on our Facebook Page: https://fb.me/physicstp .  You can also message us via our website contact form at the.physicsteachingpodcast.com, Twitter @physicstp, email using  the address given in the podcast (if we remember) or by leaving a voice memo using WhatsApp or Telegram to the phone number in our Twitter profile, +44 7898 814716 (don’t call the number, nobody will answer, just hold down the microphone icon and speak your message or upload an mp3 or ogg). Don’t forget to tell us your name because we may use your audio in a future episode.

The music we use remains One legged equilibrist polka by Circus Homunculus. Occasionally we also use Cantina Rag by Jackson F. Smith.

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Teacher in Residence

The “new normal” has once again shrunk the globe, as Thomas and Robin reach out to Alberta, Canada to talk to the inspirational Laura Pankratz of the Perimeter Institute. Just as well we talked to her when we did, because apparently we’ve discovered a black hole next door…

We first met the Perimeter Institute courtesy of IOP Scotland Education Manager and friend of the podcast Stuart Farmer, in Season 1, Episode 5 of the podcast, when hand-shaking was still a thing and you could buy carbohydrates in the shops. Even then we knew that one episode could never do the PI justice. So when Jessica Rowson (the ORIGINAL friend of the podcast) suggested we talk to Perimeter Institute, Teacher in Residence, Laura Pankratz, we knew it was time…

Laura shared the work of the Institute, and the resources it provides to help teachers. What a wealth of interesting physics there is to explore, including the physics teacher’s 2020 catnip of choice … PRACTICALS YOU CAN DO AT HOME!! We’ll all be trying to get some 2 litre fizzy-drink / soda bottles at the supermarket this week, I reckon!

Now I wonder if I take my LED halogen light bulbs apart I can make them work in an electric field?

Join in!

Please share ideas or successes – or indeed questions – on our Facebook Page: https://fb.me/physicstp .  You can also message us via our website contact form at the.physicsteachingpodcast.com, Twitter @physicstp, email using  the address given in the podcast (if we remember) or by leaving a voice memo using WhatsApp or Telegram to the phone number in our Twitter profile, +44 7898 814716 (don’t call the number, nobody will answer, just hold down the microphone icon and speak your message or upload an mp3 or ogg). Don’t forget to tell us your name because we may use your audio in a future episode.

The music we use remains One legged equilibrist polka by Circus Homunculus. Occasionally we also use Cantina Rag by Jackson F. Smith.

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