S02E17: Waves for 11 Year Olds and GCSE Required Practical

Robin and Thomas busk through teaching Sound and Waves to 11-year-olds and the Ripple Tank GCSE Required Practical.

Summary

“Physics in the News” this week looked at a story that casts doubt on the idea of dark energy. It’s a good illustration of how the scientific method and peer review is used to challenge ideas and present evidence.

Thomas and Robin chat about teaching KS3 waves and how we would introduce concepts. Robin likes Thomas’s approach of using sound vibrations to introduce wave concepts. Both love slinky springs and oscilloscopes – and don’t forget there’s a whole podcast on “Ways to Teach… waves” here. See the Summary for links to the Virtual Oscilloscope and Virtual Ripple Tank.

The core practical we discuss is measuring wave speed using a ripple tank and Thomas and Robin give the following recommendations…

  • get to know your ripple tank. Time spent getting to know your individual tank’s idiosyncrasies will not be wasted. Pick your technician’s brains!
  • Go slow. Try and get the ripples as slow as you can.
  • Look to the heavens. Try and illuminate the tank from underneath to project the ripples on the ceiling if possible.
  • Use the simulation ripple tank / wave simulation (see summary) to give students the chance to develop some familiarity (albeit simulated) with waves and ripples.

Good luck rippling!

We’re also doing a “Ways to Teach… Momentum” and a “Ways to Teach… Physics GCSE Revision” episode soon so send all the tips you can think of to us using the contact form below.

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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17. Smashing Neutrons, Supporting Non-Specialists and Surviving No Practicals

Thomas and Robin chat about Kilonova (neutron star collisions that create heavy elements), ways of supporting non-specialists and what to do when practicals fail.

Timestamps

  • Neutron Stars and Kilonova @ 2:45
  • Science(ish) Podcast and their episode “Is LIGO right?” @ 4:05
  • Flywheels for energy storage @ 5:22
  • Faking being a Physics Specialist @ 5:54
  • Tips for non-specialists @ 8:20
  • Practicals going wrong – ripple tanks @ 10:42
  • Practicals going wrong – cloud chamber @ 13:17
  • Dealing with practicals that go wrong @ 15:44
  • Teaching Physics with no practicals @ 17:09
  • Send us your tips @ 23:29

Summary

Physics in the news this week talks about Neutron Stars and how their collisions (Kilonova) create the heavier elements through neutron bombardment. This leads on to LIGO and the controversy around whether its results are right or not. Science(ish) Podcast has covered this in depth in their episode “Is LIGO right?”. Thomas reports on the Vacuum cannon sales (6 at the time of writing) and gets sidetracked on to talking about some research he did in to flywheels. Robin muses about how you can use the Physics in the News to fake being a Physics Specialist and Thomas and Robin discuss their lack of knowledge outside physics (Nose-buds anyone?) and suggest tips for non-specialists to make their knowledge appear deeper than it is. Thomas reports back on his failed practical work last week and begs the listener for advice on using a ripple tank or making a cloud chamber. Finally, Thomas reports that Patrick Kaplo has challenged the podcast to support lessons with no practicals. The thought of this has Thomas in full panic mode, but Robin calms him down.

Where is the diffraction? Are you a believer?

Ways to teach… Distance, Speed and Acceleration

Episode 20 (assuming we make it) will be all about ways to teach distance, speed and acceleration (or displacement, velocity and acceleration). How do you do it and what works best for you?

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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