35. Bonus for 10,000 Plays

A couple of nuggets

Thomas and Robin celebrate 10,000 plays by looking forward to next season and backward to the mistakes we made along the way.

Timestamps

  • Looking forward @ 00:20
  • Mistakes @ 05:42
  • Edna @ 14:10

Summary

Thomas is back from cycling the Galibier in the Alps so Robin and Thomas hook up to talk about what is planned for next season and also to play some of our favourite mistakes over the year. Hopefully our beloved listener won’t be turned away by this peek behind the veil!

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

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34. A Couple of Nuggets

Thomas shows Robin reminisce about (nearly) an academic year of podcasting. They describe their favourite practicals and are joined by Patrick Kaplo. Robin and Thomas between them share five practicals that they really enjoy as well as describing their best and worst moments of the year.

A Couple of Nuggets

Timestamps

  • Robin has an exciting announcement @ 00:46
  • Physics in the news, Hayabusa2 lands for the second time on an asteroid @ 01:22
  • Highlights @ 02:54
  • Finding the mass of a 1m ruler using a 1N weight @ 07:17
  • SHC using a kettle @ 11:41
  • Exploring uncertainty and efficacy of measuring devices using measuring 4 ohm resistors @ 20:16
  • Bond energy using a kettle @ 22:55
  • High Points and ideas for season 2 @ 25:46
  • Thomas’ PIM – Bias @ 32:09
  • Patrick Kaplo @ 39:48

Summary

Physics, physics, physics, Thomas and Robin just love to talk about how they teach it. Perhaps too much. They chat about the year they have had making the podcast and share some of their favourite practicals along the way.

Finding the mass of a 1m ruler using a 1N weight

Thomas wasn’t super clear in the podcast about this, but has made a Google Slide deck about it. Basically: Find a series of balance points for the ruler pivoted on the edge of a bench with the weight sitting on the but of ruler sticking out. clockwise moments = anticlockwise moments. The image below is from the google slide deck.

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The same nuggets

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.

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33. Working Abroad

Thomas shows Robin his package… A montage of chats he’s had with teachers who have worked abroad. The Rev (Episode 21), regular co-host Patrick Kaplo and one of Thomas’ old student teachers all give their thoughts on this adventure.

Timestamps

  • Introductions @ 00:15
  • Physics in the News @ 01:18
  • Working Abroad @ 03:17
    • How did it happen? @ 05:39
    • What about the kids? 09:08
    • Anecdotes @ 11:48
    • The value of working abroad @ 14:17
  • Post Package Chat @ 17:47
  • Ruben’s Practical in Memoriam @ 24:35

Summary

Physics in the news is another atom imaging breakthrough using a combination of a scanning tunnelling microscope and MRI. The main body of the podcast is a “package” of conversations about working abroad. Thomas was interested in this having worked in New Zealand in 2010. The Rev Tim Hardingham worked in Hong Kong, Patrick Kaplo in India and we meet Ruben Calverd who is currently working in Malaysia. Patrick went out to India through the Fulbright Scholarship Program (USA). They do offer projects for other nationalities too.

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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.

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32. Misconceptions

Thomas and Robin are joined by IoP Misconceptions expert, Alex Mathie.

Timestamps

  • Introductions @ 00:15
  • Physics in the News @ 01:25
  • Misconceptions @ 02:47
    • Mistake vs Misconception @ 03:00
    • Why are misconceptions important in physics? @ 04:07
    • Examples of misconceptions @ 06:27
    • Models and misconceptions @ 08:55
    • Addressing misconceptions @ 10:33
    • IoP Spark and misconceptions @ 15:50
    • PIPER @ 24:37
    • What could a teacher do tomorrow to address misconceptions? @ 26:17
  • Physics and Philosophy @ 30:10

Summary

What is it that makes physics a unique teaching challenge? Well dealing with misconceptions must be one of the prime candidates. More than perhaps any other subject, physics students end up with some stubbornly embedded ideas that might be along the right lines but are definitely on the wrong track.

No misconceptions about the running order though as we kick off with Physics in the News. Thomas stayed close to home this week, with two local stories that are physics related. Sonic boom over Suffolk and child rescued from hot car. Robin then introduces Alex Mathie who works with IoP Spark and PIPER (Practical Implications of Physics Education Research). Here are a few things we mentioned:

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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.

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31. The End of the NQT Year

Thomas and Robin are joined by Patrick Kaplo and NQT, Imogen House to talk about our first years in teaching, which leads to a wide ranging chat about highs and lows, being liked vs respected and teaching pedagogy.

Timestamps

  • Introductions @ 00:23
  • NQT Mistakes @ 01:32
  • NQT Best Bits @ 12:28
  • Respect vs Being Liked @ 15:12
  • Pedagogy in teacher training @ 19:09
  • Survey Feedback @ 23:48

Summary

What’s the collective noun for a group of physics teachers? Answers on a postcard please (or on Twitter, @physicstp).

Episode 31 finds Thomas, Patrick and Robin re-joined by Imogen who was a guest of an early podcast as a physics NQT. Imogen is now through her NQT year and joined us for an ‘all-request’ episode 31. We were contacted by @thePhysicsNQT on Twitter who asked us to explore some of the things that went wrong when we were early-career teachers.

Thomas recalls inviting bedlam by promising real-world relevance in one of his early lessons, thus inviting constant questions such as “what’s the relevance of xxx”; “How is this relevant to the world?” etc.

The gang got to reminiscing and unsurprisingly pupil behaviour became a theme, but Patrick did point to his years of experience giving him increased confidence in his practice, so that he is now much more ready to acknowledge and address mistakes. It’s an important point: professional insecurity doesn’t encourage reflection. It’s confidence in your practice that makes you better equipped to take feedback.

More positively, relationships were celebrated as a way to build positive environments based on mutual respect. All the teachers agreed that it is easy to confuse a positive mutually respectful relationship with ‘being liked’, particularly at the start of the year. Respect first and ‘liking’ second was the maxim with Imogen reflecting that she is likely to be stricter up front in future.

Moving back to physics, Robin postulated that subject-specific training knocks spots off ‘generic pedagogy’ with Patrick observing that physics has definite and unique demands that need specific training.

Congratulations and thanks to Helen Le-Mar: the winner of a T Shirt for completing our survey. The crew finished by looking at the results of the survey and looked forward to the variety that we are planning based on the results. Thanks to everyone who’s supported the podcast by volunteering, promoting, participating and suggesting. Keep spreading the word and letting us know what you want to hear!

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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). 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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30. Teaching Forces to 11 Year olds

Thomas and Robin try something else new. Discussing how they would teach the first three lessons on Forces to 11 year olds.

Timestamps

  • IoP Spark @ 00:37
  • How would you teach forces to 11 year olds? @ 05:00
  • Guidance for a non-specialist @ 21:10

Summary

Robin and Thomas were back to basics this week.  With Patrick busy bringing physics joy to a new generation of New Hampshirites (that’s really what residents of New Hampshire are called – I Googled it and everything), it was just the two physics geeks getting together to talk forces.

Before we got to the main business we had time to welcome IOP’s new Spark website which gathers together and updates the resources offered to teachers by the IOP.  With a new section on misconceptions and a much slicker look and feel, IOP Spark should be in every physics teacher’s bookmarks – have a look at spark.iop.org.

If you completed our listener survey, a big thank you!  The results show that you love the Podcast, and particularly those episodes where you get tips and pointers for teaching specific topics, and so this week we zeroed in on KS3 Forces, with TWP asking the question, “What would your first three lessons be for introducing forces in year 7 or 8?”

We discussed starting with the idea of a “push, pull or twist” and asking students to think about ways this might work.  TWP uses a circus of different types of forces to get students thinking about pushes, pulls and twists and discussing the origins of different types of forces.

A common misconception is that movement requires a force (e.g. a tennis ball travelling over the net ‘must’ have a force that makes it move forward).  This is not true, and Robin said that he would like students to have been introduced to the idea that persistent motion is the natural state and that our experience of friction and drag make us think that objects slow down and stop.

Another concept to introduce is force arrows – an arrow in the direction of the push, pull or twist, and whose length is proportional to the size of the force.  Robin suggested re-visiting the earlier circus and asking students to add force arrows to their earlier observations.

It is one area when lots of practical investigation can aid understanding, particularly on the idea of resistive forces such as friction and drag.

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.

Chit

Thomas’ Carousel on Forces might include the following:

  • a boat (origami will do) floating in a tub of water
  • ping pong ball with two straws and a zig zag obstacle course made with text books
  • popping toy
  • something static like a heavy weight on a piece of paper
  • wind up toy
  • flannel to wring out
  • pendulum
  • pull along toy
  • weight hanging on a spring
  • anything you can think of that pushes, pulls or twists!

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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). 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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29. Measuring the Young Modulus

Thomas talks Robin and Patrick through his method of measuring the Young Modulus that can be done as an individual experiment rather than in groups.

Timestamps

  • Physics in the News – James Webb Telescope update @ 02:20
  • Remember the Survey @ 03:54
  • Measuring the Young Modulus @ 04:25

Summary

A brief cameo from Thomas’ daughter who is staying with Patrick Kaplo kicks off the podcast and leads to a chat about interns in American Schools before Thomas steers back to the James Webb Telescope which has cleared its final Thermal Vacuum test. Then on to the topic of the day – how to measure the Young Modulus as a class practical with minimal equipment. Thomas has blogged about this in detail and also had a go at making a video!

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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). 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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28. Maths in Physics, What’s the Point?

We discuss what’s gone well and badly this week with guest presenter Cara Wood and then chat about James de Winter’s thoughts on Maths in Physics teaching.

Timestamps

  • Introducing the Survey @ 01:45
  • What’s gone well and badly this week? @ 02:46
  • James de Winter interview @ 08:50
  • Post James chat @ 25:12

Summary

Cara Wood (she of the plucky string in episode 27) steps in for Patrick Kaplo to share her thoughts about what has gone well and badly this week. James de Winter then talks about Maths in Physics teaching: what can learned from the Maths department and the challenges Physics Teachers face. He mentions research by the ASE about cooperation between Maths and Physics departments and also Ed Southall’s book “Yes, but why?”. He also talks about how he has used numberless graphs and suggests a question you can ask yourself before each activity: What’s the point?

Cara reminded Thomas about the graph scale selector, but we couldn’t find a link to an example, can you?

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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). Don’t forget to tell us your name because we may use your audio in a future episode.

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27. Ways to teach… Waves

Thomas, Robin and Patrick introduce and discuss many ways of teaching waves that have been shared by the listener.

Timestamps

  • Physics in the News – Blue Origin @ 01:07
  • Ways to teach… Waves @ 01:50
    • Cara Wood and a piece of string @ 02:20
    • Slinkys @ 06:50
    • Making many nodes @ 10:54
    • Salt Pendulum @ 13:47
    • Acetates @ 14:58
      • Jed’s wave visualisation experiment @ 16:48
    • How to remember the difference between Transverse and longitudinal @ 18:59
    • Alom Shaha and the Jelly Baby Wave Machine @ 20:17
    • Standing waves @ 24:51
    • Ruben’s Tube and Kundts Tube @ 28:01
    • Showing colour mixing and projector polarisation @ 30:43
    • Young’s slits – lab scale with sound @ 32:47
    • PhEt @ 33:38
    • Mexican Wave @ 34:20
    • Tell us misconceptions! #tptpmisconception @ 35:25
    • Who won Alom Shaha’s Book? @ 37:43

Summary

Patrick, Thomas and Robin get together to tackle ways to teach waves but not until they have touched on Jeff Bezos’ bid for extra-terrestrial adventure: Blue Origin.

Cara Wood was first up sharing tips for teaching waves.  She introduces waves by simply getting students to pluck a piece of string held in their teeth, so that they can see, feel and hear vibrations, experience amplitude and frequency, and discuss waves travelling through solids and gases.  Patrick loved this: really giving a tactile encounter with waves and their source.  Robin made the tenuous link to cochlear implants.  Very similar is the metal coat hanger demo.

“You can’t beat a Slinky” according to Dan Toomey – thanks Dan!  Patrick put us onto “Snakey springs” on amazon for a mighty £27, but we found them cheaper with a bit of persistence: £5.75 at Select School Supplies. Snakey Springs help to avoid Slinky tangles when demo-ing transverse waves.  Thanks to Graham Thomson for the tip of setting a ball next to the slinky spring so that it gets struck as the wave passes and you can thus link frequency and energy.  Graham pointed out the rich discussions you can have on time period, frequency, wave speed and wavelength all with the Slinky.  Thomas was really impressed with Frank Noschese’s video using paper cups next to the Slinky to demonstrate constructive and destructive interference.  Robin recalled a similar method to this to demonstrate the vibrational link to sound waves.

Frank Noschese masters the Slinky

Thanks to Dr Joshua Griffiths and Graham Thompson who talked about challenging students to produce features on ropes and Slinkies, such as increasing numbers of standing waves and purposely frustrating by asking for high frequency, long-wavelength waves.  This gives a good discussion of why it can’t be done!

Thanks to all the other folk too numerous to mention, who also pointed us towards the Slinky as a ‘must-have’ for teaching waves.

Thanks to Dan Toomey for the salt / sand pendulum video.  Thomas was delighted to report he had already done this and Patrick was keen to have a go.

John Hamilton’s use of acetate wave traces to demonstrate superposition makes a tough concept much easier for students to visualise – thanks John!  Jed Marshall uses acetates to get across the tricky idea of wavefronts, alongside his ripple tank that students can struggle with and he kindly supplied a booklet to show how it worked. (photos below).

How’s this for a handy mnemonic for longitudinal vs. transverse?  Thanks to Chris Beason and K Physics 1.

Alom Shaha joined us for his PIM and he described his jelly baby wave machine. The video says it all: easy to make, and as Alom says, transformative in the teaching of waves! Reflection, refraction, amplitude and frequency – all easily demo-ed quickly and cheaply. Despite Jelly Babies being lost in translation, Patrick endorsed the machine and he still uses it, although the Gummy Bears may be past their sell-by date!

Signal generators, strings and vibration generators always go over well, particularly in conjunction with a stroboscope and Patrick described how he challenges students, not least through atmospheric use of Pink Floyd music! Don’t forget your Rubens tube too – it really helps discussing pressure differentials in sound waves. And if anyone has any tips to get the Kundt’s tube to work, let us know!

Paul from @PlanetReynolds on Twitter had a lovely dichromatic crystals demo which has “Wow factor” and his toppling dominos is a great way of demonstrating density’s effect on wave transmission. Just search on eBay for “optical glass cube” and “100 led finger lights“.

Thanks again to Dan Toomey for his tip on using superposition with loudspeakers, and don’t forget PhET, ripple tanks and “stadium waves”!

…and finally! Well done to Frank Noschese who we picked from the expensively engineered randomised name selection device. Frank will receive a personally signed copy of Alom Shaha’s Recipes for Wonder.

HAVE A GREAT HALF TERM!!

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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). 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.

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A Swiss Roll

26. Finding Physics Teaching at Fifty-Three

Thomas, Robin and Patrick Kaplo hear from Jonathan Shaw, a late career change to Physics teaching who is in his NQT year at 53 years old. Jonathan also challenges the team to select the most important equipment for a new physics department.

Timestamps

  • Vacuum cannon update @ 00:39
  • Ways to teach… Waves reminder @ 01:04
  • Physics in the News: Coal Free Electricity in the UK @ 02:39
  • Energy storage with cars @ 03:56
  • Jonathan Shaw, NQT @ 04:47
  • After the interview discussion @ 20:40
    • Swiss Roll @ 20:44
  • Which equipment should a Physics department have? @ 29:35

Summary

Thomas reminds us that the Vacuum Cannon can once more be ordered in the shop (for delivery in early June). Physics In The News leads to a chat about the UK’s coal-free week and the idea of load balancing with electric cars. This week’s guest is Jonathan Shaw, a successful businessman and entrepreneur who found his true calling as a Physics teacher late in life. What he says challenges Patrick, Thomas and Robin to justify practical work and also to come up with the equipment that a Physics department should have if starting from scratch. Robin gives his top tips for teaching other teachers to use oscilloscopes but is sceptical about a virtual oscilloscope but Thomas recommends the one at academo.org. Share your list with @physicstp on twitter with the hash tag #tptpequipment.

Ways to teach… Waves

Episode 27 will be all about ways to teach Waves. How do you do it and what works best for you? You have until Saturday night to give us your ideas, and one of them will win Alom Shaha’s excellent book Recipes for Wonder.

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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