Physics

Is a gold medal really gold?

The story

There is no doubt that the gold medals for the London Olympic games are beautiful but how much gold is actually in them?

This is might well be the first of a few Olympic themed postings over the coming months. I wanted to come up with some ideas that were a bit different and unusual so this is my first offering: an  enquiry lesson to use when teaching metal properties or density or just as a way of practising maths and science skills. More

Why did the Titanic sink?

The story

Unless you have been hiding under an iceberg for the past few weeks, you will have noticed an increase in the amount of media attention on the Titanic. This is because the 100 year anniversary of its sinking takes place on Sunday.

Teaching ideas

A lesson on the sinking of the Titanic would be a great way to test KS3 students’ understanding about forces and give them valuable practice at how to write a good scientific explanation.

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How to see around corners

image: CILAS @ wikimedia

A simple starter I often used when introducing the topic of light with year 8 was to give them a problem to solve: More

Space vacation

The story

Getting into space the traditional way, in a space shuttle, is an expensive process but at least we know it works. Is travelling up in an elevator attached to a 36 000 km cable any more cost effective or realistic? More

Beautiful physics

This video shows an interesting merge of physics and make-up which might just be the hook you need to get certain individuals in your class interested in science (you know who they are!). More

Flipping forces

Next Tuesday is Pancake Day and to celebrate the flipping fantastic feast that it is, here is an idea that can be used to reinforce knowledge of force diagrams with KS2 or KS3 students.

Using the downloadable resource, students create their own diagrams to show the forces involved when flipping a pancake. More

Hamster Power

Credit: Mylius at wikimedia

The story

Did you know:  The hamster species P.roborovskii have been said to run the equivalent of four human marathons per night?

This interesting but apparently useless fact came to my attention via Guardian blogger Grrl Scientist.  The blog post went on to explain the ways that all this kinetic energy could be harnessed to power electrical devices and I thought that it might be a fun way of teaching about energy transfer.

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Street lights to face cuts to working hours

The story

It seems nothing is safe from the wave of council cutbacks sweeping the nation as Pembrokeshire council has just announced that it is planning to start turning off 14 000 of its street lights in order to save money (and cut down on its carbon footprint). More

Solving the mysteries of the Earth

It was a couple of earth-science stories that caught my attention this week. After the recent earthquakes that shook Japan and New Zealand, predicting where and when the next big seismic event will happen is a holy grail to seismologists. More

Is nuclear power too risky?

The story

Because of the chain of events that have taken place in Japan over the last week, the safety of nuclear power has again come into question.  As well as coping with the aftermath of earthquakes and a tsunami, More

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