S02E03 Summer Placements and Teaching without Demos/Practicals

Charlie tells us about an unexpected lesson in his audio diary. Patrick talks a little about his placement at MIT Haystack telescope. Thomas worries about how to teach when there is no practical or demo to be done.

S02 E03 Timestamps

  • Charlie’ the non-specialist’s audio diary @ 01:00
  • Physics in the News, water vapour on exoplanet @ 05:04
  • Colin Lonsdale of MIT Haystack @ 08:00
  • Teaching without practicals and demos @ 19:48
  • Fermi Questions @ 26:10
  • Air Pressure tricks @ 27:06
  • Ways To Teach… Ionising Radiation @ 28:10
  • Return of the vacuum cannon #tptpir @ 29:24

Summary

MIT Haystack

Charlie’s audio diary kicks off the podcast, telling us how he has not taught forces at all yet as he had to finish off the induction topic. Thomas then gets excited about the water vapour spotted on a planet 110 light years away from Earth. Amazing precision! Patrick then plays us the interview with Colin Lonsdale from the MIT Haystack observatory. Patrick did a placement there over the summer. Thomas then talks about teaching without practicals and demos and gets some advice from Patrick before deciding it is too big a topic; it needs a whole podcast. At the end of the episode we talk about Fermi questions and estimating and introduce a new Ways to teach… episode.

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).

Lead lined trucks radioactivity

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.

Send Message
Reset Form

S02E02 (37) NUSTEM – helping you find context for the physics

With Robin back from holiday we meet a non-specialist hero, setting off to teach Physics and have a long interview with Carol Davenport from NUStem who are working to encourage young people to choose science as their future careers including their website nustem.uk/primarycareers/ that links KS3 topics with real careers.

Timestamps

  • Intros @ 00:23
  • Charlie the non-specialist’s audio diary @ 1:50
  • nustem and Carol Davenport @ 05:24
    • Post interview chat @ 17:00
  • First lesson redux @ 19:20
    • Thomas made Patrick’s Black Box @ 20:10
    • Chatting about Science never being definite @20:44
  • Robin’s teaching this year @ 22:20
  • Contact the podcast @ 25:36

Summary

Patrick Kaplo is unavailable this week but sleep-deprived Robin is back from Canada! Robin is now delighted to be back in the classroom after two years at the IoP. We kick off with bold PE teacher Charlie Gilbank who is setting off on his Physics teaching journey. He listened to Episode 30 – Teaching Forces to 11 Year Olds before planning his first couple of lessons. Watch this space and we will reveal the highs and further highs of Charlie’s year ahead.

We’re delighted to welcome Dr Carol Davenport from NUSTEM to the podcast this week. Carol is a seasoned physics teacher and academic with an incisive grasp of what makes for good physics teaching. We’re so grateful that she made time to talk to us.

” NUSTEM aims to support children, young people, and their key influencers, to help them make informed choices about STEM careers. We do this by helping them to experience the fascination and enjoyment to be found in STEM, and by working to increase their science capital. ”

https://nustem.uk/about/
Black box

NUSTEM does a wide variety of things both in the Primary and Secondary sectors. One of them is something Thomas asked for after hearing from Jessica Rowson in Episode 4 – Why don’t more Girls choose Physics?, namely a web site to match (KS3) Physics topics with careers.

Finally Thomas reveals he made Patrick Kaplo’s black box and plans to use it in his first lesson.

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.

Send Message
Reset Form

S02E01 (36) Black Boxes and Beginnings

With Robin away hiking in the Canadian Rockies, Thomas and Patrick hook up to chat about the coming academic year. They share their thoughts on the first lesson (of A Level/AP). Robin contributes his thoughts on the coming year via an audio diary.

Timestamps

  • Where is Robin? @ 00:13
  • Thomas apologises to Moses Rifkin @ 01:12
  • Going back to school and the UK/USA similarities and differences @ 02:02
  • First lessons @ 02:16
    • Thomas and two sig figs @ 06:32
    • Patrick and uncertainty @ 08:48
    • Patrick’s black box @ 10:30
  • What are you teaching first @ 16:07
  • Practical work and getting through the content @ 17:25
  • How were your results (and do they matter)? @ 18:58
  • Robin’s message in a wav file @ 22:45
  • Where did you go for your Summer holiday? @ 28:40

Summary

Robin is hiking in the Canadian Rockies so Patrick and Thomas hook up to talk about their thoughts for the year ahead. Patrick shares his Black Box lesson, a very similar concept to use of the Mystery Tube from Episode 8. Thomas shares how he introduces 2 sig figs to his new A Level students (getting them to measure 13m diagonally through a tree) which leads to Patrick’s take on uncertainty and systematic/systemic error. The two then chat about covering content, and what matters most in how you influence the students at the end of the year. After the recording was made, Robin managed to fire a wav file across the Pond in which he talks about his hopes for the year ahead as he returns to full-time teaching.

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.

Send Message
Reset Form

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!

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 background music is Cantina Rag by Jackson F. Smith.

Send Message
Reset Form

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.

Join in!

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.

Send Message
Reset Form

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.

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.

Send Message
Reset Form

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:

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.

Send Message
Reset Form

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!

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). 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.

Send Message
Reset Form

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!

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.

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

Send Message
Reset Form

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!

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.

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

Send Message
Reset Form