12 Apr Physics Education Reflections
I was reading a really inspiring book from University the other night called Five Easy Lessons: Strategies for Successful Physics Teaching by Randall D. Knight. Our Physics curriculum professor had selected it, and for good reason! It is full of treasures- treasures that I didn’t even fully appreciate yet at the time with such limited experience. Reading the book now, after 3 years of tutoring Physics one-on-one, a lot is resonating with me.
What I have experienced with physics is that a lot of really smart students, with a genuine interest in physics, are turned off because they find they are “bad” at it.
In the book, Randall spoke to the fact that students have misconceptions about physics and these ideas go unaddressed in textbooks because they seem too “obvious.” Addressing and dispelling misconceptions is a profound way to increase student understanding in physics.
I wager that you are probably not as bad at physics as you may think, based on this fact!
Something that will happen almost every tutoring session in physics is getting up and moving around. By having students make predictions about a situation, then acting it out or performing an experiment, we can dispel such misconceptions while providing students with “aha” moments too!
Physics must be felt and experienced. This is something that my Associate Teacher, Ryan Gordon, taught me while spending over a year at McLaughlin Collegiate and Vocational Institute. He always has students engaged in a weekly lab or something hands-on. Many of the students I tutor crave this, so we do labs and thought experiments in our sessions quite frequently.
Bite Size Physics is a site that offers some relevant and simple experiments of varying difficulty to try with your learner. Some are dangerous if not assisted by an adult. Enjoy!