DO-IT-YOURSELF WORKSHOPS FOR TEACHING PHYSICS
National University of Singapore (SINGAPORE)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:We develop a do-it-yourself workshop style of teaching physics concepts to primary and secondary level students. Among the toys that we develop are the so-called home rollers (a device which once set to roll will roll back and forth in damped oscillatory manner), potatoes-battery-run table clock (to explain the concept of DC circuit), compact-disc glider (a glider made of compact disc which is connected by a tube to a balloon; the air rushing out from the balloon provides the thrust to uplift the CD according to Bernoulli principle of fluid dynamics), homopolar motors (assembled from a series of permanent magnet, battery and copper wires, folded and shaped in such away to ensure direct current flows across the magnet-battery-wire series, causing the wire in turn to rotate in accordance with Lorentz force law), and Oobleck (made of corn-starch solution to study non-newtonian fluid). In the workshop students are first engaged through assembling the toys themselves. A briefing on basic physics related to the toys, safety issue and instruction of assembling the toys is conducted prior to the workshop. Once the toys are ready, students will be guided through a series of experiments to study the physical phenomena (e.g. the damped-oscillatory motion of the home-rollers and conservation of energy) or to measure certain physics quantities related to the toys (e.g. using compact-disc gilder to experimentally verify air density). Finally, a debriefing is conducted at the end of the workshop to give students chances to present their findings and answers any queries pertaining of the phenomena discovered during the experiment. In our talk and/or full article, we will describe each do-it-yourself workshop’ learning outcomes, underlying physical principles and execution in greater details. These workshops are run at very low operational cost, cultivating household materials commonly found around. It can be run in class, lab, or open hall en masse as outreach activities. More importantly, its high reproducibility makes it feasible for students to bring the idea back to their home school, family or society at large, and develop it as part of the learning process. Last but not least, it is lively and engaging and as some students put it in their feedback, “We are learning without we are realizing it”, making the whole learning experience still fun, yet fulfilling.
Keywords: Do-It-Yourself demonstration toys, Outreach activities.