S02E08 – Ways to teach… Ionising radiation

Listeners have been more than generous with some tips for ionising radiation and how to teach it. Thomas, Robin and Patrick introduce some great ideas and discuss how to put IR in context.

Wisdom and wit

Patrick, Thomas and Robin get together to tackle ways to teach Ionising Radiation with context proving to be the most common tip.

Friend of the podcast, Dan Toomey shares his love of the radioactive sources and how to build a radiation detector, while Sarah Nunn and Mary Wild both weigh in with some tips on the best ways to run class demos and to help students remember the relative properties of alpha, beta and gamma. Everyone loves a story!

Patrick, it turns out used to have his own nuclear reactor that the US government gave him (none of this is quite true, but in Thomas’ and Robin’s heads it always will be!) and he tells us some of the real-life ways in which he avoided being toasted – we’re so glad he did.

Horror stories appeal to the kids too, so Thomas shared this genuinely terrifying clip of Russian ‘safety’ measures, whilst Veritasium gets a mention for the fantastic video on the world’s most radioactive places.

XKCD.com/radiation is another great resource for getting kids thinking about how common and everyday radiation really is. The circumstances surrounding the Goiânia accident are as bizarre as they are terrifying.

For careers advice, tell your students about Medical physics careers and many more. Just one of the jobs you can do if you study ionising radaition.

Thanks to Dan, Mary, Sarah, Patrick and to you for listening!

HAVE A GREAT HALF TERM!!

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). Don’t forget to tell us your name because we may use your audio in a future episode. Please do leave a voice memo: Thomas thinks nobody loves him.

The music we use remains One legged equilibrist polka by Circus Homunculus.

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S02E07 CPD at SPEED

Our first foray in to the wild as we took our shiny new audio recorder (aka Albert Einstein) to the SPEED Physics teaching conference in Cambridge. SPEED is organised by the legend who is Ally Davies and is a well-established and popular CPD event for teachers in East Anglia. If you would like to pop along to your local CPD day, see the “Forthcoming events” link to Talkphysics, below.

S02E07 Timestamps

  • Physics in the news – Nobel Prize 2019 @ 2:06
  • Robin has had a fun time teaching electricity @ 04:16
  • Thomas has been doing revision in the round @ 06:25
  • Charlie the non-specialist @ 08:11
  • SPEED @ 13:40

Summary

Charlie’s odyssey continues, and we hope you are enjoying hearing his enthusiasm as much as we are. If you have any tips for Charlie, drop us a line. The main focus this week, though was the SPEED event in Cambridge. This is a gathering of many physics teachers and teachers of physics with all sorts of stimulating talks. Here are links to a couple of the things we talked about:

The podcast is trying to provide a link for physics teachers who don’t have anyone they can talk physics with, and the IOP regional days are trying to do the same so if you love the podcast, chances are you’ll enjoy an IOP regionakl day!

Ways to teach… Ionising Radiation

Please share your ideas about teaching Ionising Radiation. Tweet us @physicstp with the hash tag #tptpir , use the contact form below, our Instagram account @physics_teaching_podcast or email us contact at thephysicsteachingpodcast dot com!

Join in!

Don’t forget to tell us how it goes and share your tips.  And if you happen to be at SPEED on 5th October, say hello and you will hopefully make it onto the podcast! Details on how to get in touch are below. Thanks for listening.

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. The music in the montage is Cantina Rag by Jackson F. Smith.

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S02E06 Mary, Mass and Melting

Our first T-shirt winner, Mary Wild, joins us to chat about helping Charlie with mass, weight and gravity and also to share a practical she loves: Specific Latent Heat of fusion for Ice.

S02E06 Timestamps

  • Introducing our guest Mary Wild (@MaryWild) @ 01:10
  • Physics in the News – Static Spiders @ 02:15
  • Charlie’s audio diary @ 05:06
  • Mass and Weight @ 07:00
  • Forces at a Distance @ 12:30
  • Weightlessness @ 16:40
  • Mary’s Practical In Memoriam (PIM) Specific Latent Heat (Fusion) of Ice @ 21:09

Summary

We are joined by Mary Wild, a teacher in West Sussex. She kicks of with a Physics in the News that she fears might not be recent: Spiders use electrostatics to float! We then hear from Charlie the non-specialist who poses some tricky questions about forces: mass ad weight and non-contact forces.

Mary likes to show the Hammer and Feather dropped on the Moon (Brian Cox updates it in this video) and Adam Hart-Davis dropping tomatoes (Thomas can’t find that video). Stephen Hawking on the Vomit Comet. @DanWestPhD found Robin’s favourite video on gravity courtesy of the excellent channel Veritasium.

We close with Mary’s favourite demo/practical. Determining the specific latent heat of fusion for Ice -> Water by melting ice in a funnel using an immersion heater. Don’t forget to run it without the heater and subtract the volume of water melted by the room!

Ways to teach… Ionising Radiation

Please share your ideas about teaching Ionising Radiation. Tweet us @physicstp with the hash tag #tptpir , use the contact form below, our Instagram account @physics_teaching_podcast or email us contact at thephysicsteacohingpodcast dot com! After tweeting about this we already have seen a brilliant video about dealing with radiation issues in Russia (Thank you David Cotton @Newmanphysics).

Join in!

Don’t forget to tell us how it goes and share your tips.  And if you happen to be at SPEED on 5th October, say hello and you will hopefully make it onto the podcast! Details on how to get in touch are below. Thanks for listening.

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.

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S02E05 Active Instruction

Trying to cheer up Thomas, who has had a bad day, Patrick introduces the concept of Active Instruction. Also an update from Charlie and our first contact through WhatsApp!

S02E05 Timestamps

  • Thomas has an announcement @ 00:44
  • Thomas has had a bad week @ 02:00
  • Update from Charlie @ 04:45
  • Patrick introduces Active Instruction @ 09:02
  • Contact on calculators via WhatsApp @ 26:31
  • Please help with Ionising Radiation! @ 32:37

Summary

A bad day for Thomas made the team (Thomas, Patrick and Robin this week) reflect on the nature of teaching, often lonely and sometimes a bit manic. Every teacher has moments of anxiety and imposter syndrome and it’s important to give yourself a break as they say in New Hampshire. Charlie is loving his science and his year 7 group is clearly loving working with him. Charlie is one of those heroes teaching physics despite not having a science background. It’s lovely to hear his enthusiasm permeating his classroom and the joy he takes in the questions his kids are asking. If you are teaching physics and it’s not familiar to you, thank you and I hope you enjoy it as much as Charlie. Active instruction takes centre stage as the team discuss prompting kids to think and guide their discussions on physics. Finally Matt Bowman joins us from Peru and we talk calculators.

Patrick’s Links

Ways to teach… Ionising Radiation

Please share your ideas about teaching Ionising Radiation. Tweet us @physicstp with the hash tag #tptpir , use the contact form below, our Instagram account @physics_teaching_podcast or email us contact at thephysicsteacohingpodcast dot com! After tweeting about this we already have seen a brilliant video about dealing with radiation issues in Russia (Thank you David Cotton @Newmanphysics).

Join in!

Don’t forget to tell us how it goes and share your tips.  And if you happen to be at SPEED on 5th October, say hello and you will hopefully make it onto the podcast! Details on how to get in touch are below. Thanks for listening.

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. The jingle for WhatsApp messages is Skipping in the No Standing Zone by Peter Gresser

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