About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1024-1029
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain


By definition, physical phenomena are ubiquitous in Nature, but their study could become tedious –or simply indifferent– for young students when it is approached in a solely abstract or formal way. In contrast, the study of principles and laws of Physics can develop all its attractiveness and interest when they are also shown from a more entertaining and closer scope. It was the aim of the Teaching Innovation Projects Students frequently ask: ‘Yes but...what is the utility of Physics I?’ and the same about '... of Physics II?’ in the framework of the subjects ‘Physics I’ (it includes Kinematics, Rigid Solid Dynamics, and Thermodynamics) and ‘Physics II’ (Force Fields, Wave Theory, and Electromagnetism), respectively, corresponding to the Degrees on Aerospace Engineering (DAE), Industry Design and Product Developing Engineering (DIDPDE), and Technical Industry Engineering (DTIE), at the Engineering High School of the University of Cadiz, Spain (EHS-UCA) during the 2013-2014 course.

Despite the lack of funds to support the Spanish Universities in the last years (Negro et al., 2014), some procedures have been implemented within the Engineering courses to decrease academic failure (Navarro et al., 2014; Lopez-Garcia et al., 2014). In this context, the two Projects presented herein were carried out by using experiments of Recreational Physics, different toys and devices, and other resources as books and online contents, in order to catch the interest of students on physical concepts and processes. They included experiments of curious phenomena as rising of water level inside an inverted cup by combustion of a candle, rotation dynamics of a toy carousel, thermodynamics considerations from the behavior of a ‘perpetual motion bird’, electrostatic forces by a ‘magic wand’ based on a Van der Graaf generator, and many others. The methodology used in the Physics I Project was based on the installation of Posters of Recreational Physics at the Physics laboratory, experiments conducted during the Laboratory classes, and the development of contents for the Online Classroom of ‘Physics I’. This methodology was modified for the Physics II Project based on the evaluation of the results by a questionnaire to be filled by the students (as it was carried out for the other subject as well). Therefore, it finally consisted on experiments of Recreational Physics conducted during several Theory classes of ‘Physics II’, and a final illustrative seminar for all the different Engineering Degrees.

Main conclusions derived from these Projects were:
i) a significant increment on the interest of students on Physics and Science;
ii) the aim of students for learning more about this kind of recreational physical experiments; and
iii) a general sensation of enjoying the study and analysis of physical phenomena by students –and teachers as well–.

In addition, students manifested their interest in this methodology to be applied to other Engineering subjects of their Degrees.

[1] Negro V.; J.M. del Campo and J.J. Muñoz (2014). Educational innovation and research at the crossroads for clippings in Spanish Universities. SAICE’14, 58-63
[2] Navarro M., J.J. Muñoz, G. Anfuso, J. Roman and L. Moreno (2014). Success on increasing number of students that pass the coastal engineering subject. EDULEARN14, 4443-4448
[3] Lopez P., M. Navarro, J.J. Muñoz, G. Anfuso (2014). Audiovisual resources as a useful tool to improve the teaching of coastal engineering. EDULEARN14, 6117-6124
author = {Garc{\'{i}}a-Yeguas, A. and Gonz{\'{a}}lez, C.J. and V{\'{a}}zquez, A. and Pi{\~n}ero, M. and C{\'{a}}rdenas-Leal, J.L. and de la Rosa, M.L. and Mu{\~n}oz-Perez, J.J.},
series = {9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2015 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-606-5763-7},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {2-4 March, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {1024-1029}}
AU - A. García-Yeguas AU - C.J. González AU - A. Vázquez AU - M. Piñero AU - J.L. Cárdenas-Leal AU - M.L. de la Rosa AU - J.J. Muñoz-Perez
SN - 978-84-606-5763-7/2340-1079
PY - 2015
Y1 - 2-4 March, 2015
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2015 Proceedings
SP - 1024
EP - 1029
ER -
A. García-Yeguas, C.J. González, A. Vázquez, M. Piñero, J.L. Cárdenas-Leal, M.L. de la Rosa, J.J. Muñoz-Perez (2015) STUDENTS FREQUENTLY ASK: ‘YES BUT...WHAT IS THE UTILITY OF PHYSICS?’, INTED2015 Proceedings, pp. 1024-1029.