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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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.

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Assessment and CPAC

Thomas, Robin and Patrick chat about using teacher judgement to assess students, and wonder whether more trust should be placed in a teacher’s view of a student’s performance in future.

The “new normal” is just another way of saying “weird” as far as we’re concerned. In this episode, we range around the emergency assessment routines that OFQUAL have put into place, reflecting on the humanity and fairness that they have managed to salvage from what is a stressful and potentially difficult end to our GCSE and A-level students’ studies. It is interesting to contrast with CPAC, as this time of year also sees us tidying up and finishing of this traditional aspect of A-level assessment. Thomas talks about his experience as an exam board moderator, and we discuss whether this model of accountability has somehow lost its way.

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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.

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@MissNeutrino, a Physics NQT

In an almost covid free podcast, Thomas and Robin meet Alexia, a newly qualified teacher (NQT) in Physics.

Summary

Alexia has a Physics degree from Imperial (which made Robin happy) and a PGCE from the London Institute of Education (which made Thomas happy). She has many strings to her bow. In addition to being a physics teacher, Alexia is a LaTeX guru, has a fascinaton with neutrinos and tweets as @MissNeutrino.

Alexia tells us about her NQT year and how she is faring in her first year as a Teacher.

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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.

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Lockdown Lessons Learned

Thomas and Robin hook up for a quick catch up after the Easter holidays. They talk about what they have heard, what they have learned and what they miss about being in school.

Summary

Thomas and Robin have heard some strange tales of what is going on in different schools. Virtual learning walks sounds like unnecessary stress at this strange time and what about detentions for the kids if they don’t turn up on-line?

They have had some success with Teams and discuss how they are trying to set work for the children that is practical rather than more worksheets. Thomas is missing equipment for teaching and Robin is missing his colleagues.

On we go in this strange time…

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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.

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