S02E14: Specific Heat Capacity (GCSE Required Practical)

Happy Christmas! In the last full podcast of 2019, Thomas and Robin chat about one of the core GCSE Practicals: Measuring Specific Heat Capacity. Also, stealth physics in “fun” Christmas lessons.

Timestamps

  • Bikes follow up @ 00:54
  • Stealth Physics “fun” lessons @ 02:10
  • Chatting about measuring Specific Heat Capacity @ 15:50

Summary

Thomas doesn’t like “fun” lessons, and is a bit of a Scrooge, but Robin has a great one on Christmas lights that is much deeper than you think.

A few days ago we talked through doing the Specific Heat Capacity experiment and we talk about the cognitive load, issues and tips around doing this popular and classic practical. Although his drawing skills are as unconvincing as his podcasting skills, Robin shares these diagrams to use (or preferably ‘do better’) as the basis of some low cog-load instructions. Merry Christmas!

Equipment list

Step 1 – put oil in the openings in the metal block
Step 2 – insert heater and thermometer as show
Step 3 – connect the heater to an ammeter and a power supply, then connect a voltmeter in parallel across the heater.

Step 4 – read the current and voltage, then take an initial temperature reading and record as your t = 0 seconds reading. Start the stopwatch.
Step 5 – record the temperature every 30 seconds until the temperature hits 50 celsius.

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. The music before and after James is Cantina Rag by Jackson F. Smith.

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S02E13: Bikes – An Accessible and Versatile Context

James de Winter and Alan Denton join us to tell us the many ways in which a simple bicycle can be used to provide an accessible context for Physics. Moment, pressure, forces, sound, power and more can all be looked at through the lens of a bike.

Timestamps

  • A Fifth Fundamental Force? @ 00:47
  • Bikes for teaching physics @
    • Why use a bike? @ 05:56
    • How to draw a bike @ 06:43
    • Free Body Diagrams @
    • Forces on a bike @ 08:11
    • Free Body Diagrams @ 8:40
    • Mechanical Advantage @ 14:00
    • Pressure @ 17:18
    • Sound@ 23:10
    • All the other things you can do @ 25:00
  • Post interview chat @ 31:00
How to sketch a bike

Summary

First Thomas and Robin chew over the suggestion that there may be a fifth fundamental force of nature, or it may just be uncertainty. This leads on to the similarities with “faster than light neutrinos“. It’s a story that illustrates ‘how science works’ so a nice one to share with top sets or A-level students.

Alan and James find delight in the bike as a tool for teaching physics. Levers, pressure, friction, sound and much more can be taught using the good old bicycle! We’ve been chatting a lot about context recently and surely a bike has more resonance with kids than, say a Saturn V rocket or a car engine?

If you’re interested in the beautiful book James mentions, you can find it here: Cycling Science by Max Glaskin. If you do all your marking, Santa might put you on the ‘nice’ list and slip one in your stocking.

I’ll bet you can think of even more ways to use a bike to get ideas across (bike chain as a model of moving charge in a circuit?), so give your technician a real challenge and see if they can find storage space in their prep room for a bike.

Join in!

Don’t forget to tell us how it goes and share your tips.  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 before and after James is Cantina Rag by Jackson F. Smith.

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