A Couple More Nuggets
Thomas doesn’t know which week it is; thinking there is one more week of term he drags Robin to his garage to test some vacuum cannon upgrades. Thomas and Robin also look backwards and forwards though the podcast’s second season. A Tight Collar Thomas has been experimenting with the collars that are used to join vacuum cannon spec pipes. After initial excitement (described in the podcast) Thomas does some further testing (described in an addendum) and finds that they don’t seal perfectly when pushed on dry and that the hole in the middle is slightly smaller than a table tenis ball (which probably doesn’t matter). The collars can be cut in to slices to make round flanges with three benefits: – Greater surface area for the tape to grip – The potential for “reloading” the tape off-line whilst another shot is prepared (one of the issues with the cannon is the pfaff of taping it up in the lesson – Easier reloading when you forget the ball! The slices can also be used as a mechanical support for the “gold standard” flange – if you have managed to persuade tech. to make you them. Thank you. It’s Been… Emotional There are so many people to thank. We would not do this without *you* dear listener. The emails we get cheer us up and keep us going. We have had so many guests; thank you to you for giving up your time and being so flexible. (Special mention here to Miss Neutrino who happily rerecorded the podcast after Thomas didn’t press the right button). Thanks to Patrick Kaplo, who has become a good friend and who we were very disappointed not to meet face to face this Spring. Finally, thanks to our families, who think we are bonkers but wave us off to our respective cupboard and garage each week.
Spend spend spend!
What will the well-dressed physics lab be wearing this year? Jonathan Shaw secured £53,000 of funding to kit out his physics department and asked Thomas and Robin to throw this over to the physics-teaching hive mind, and you did not disappoint! We had some fantastic suggestions, and some surprises.
Sharing Is Caring
Peter is one of those special people who is a finisher. Dissatisfied with the resources available to him in his trainee year, Peter set about creating his own resources. Not only that, he shared them through his web site, sciencedoctor.school.blog. His one problem with all this #sharingiscaring? The endless requests for the answers. If you use the resources and there are no answers, then please send them to him. Thomas says he will put a link to Peter’s site on the resources aggregator we host, https://resources.physicsteachingpodcast.com. Peter also suggests ways of spending Jonathan Shaw’s £50,000 on Physics equipment – his ideal would be to spend £10,000 on one big ticket item. Thomas is skeptical, Robin delighted. Finally, Peter’s Practical in Memoriam is a beautiful way of making one of the less inspiring practicals (density) more appealing.
Become a YouTuber
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.
The Doctor Will Teach You Now
Jo is a career-changer from a medical background who kindly agreed to join us to chat about her experience of teaching physics.
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?
A Gimmicky Demo Fan
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.
Bits and Bobs
What can we usefully get students doing at home to explore their physics and what (cheap) kit might we be able to provide them with come September?
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.
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…