Friday, August 03, 2007

Physics Teachers Embrace a New Method

Modeling. That seems to be the new buzz word in physics teaching these days. These teachers are getting a first hand instructions on this teaching technique.

Still, I can't help but to think that this is all "... just a little bit of history repeating", as Shirley Bassey once said. I could have sworn that this approach of having the students try to understand physics via looking at how things behave isn't new. I think Leon Ledermann has been pushing for something like that for years. It doesn't, however, detract from the technique, and if it works, more power to them. I personally think this is definitely a worthwhile line to pursue rather than dumping onto the students a bunch of equations that they can't digest.



tdubose said...

Right--but wouldn't it be even better to take a hybrid approach, so that the kids understand the equations (and so have scalability and expandability in theory-land) but are also grounded in the real world? That's the approach I was taught in my AP Physics course--and everyone in the class got double 5s on the AP. Specifically, I think this can really help on E&M, because mechanics is in many ways intuitive, but and understanding of circuits on a physical, rather than theoretical, level, makes your knowledge base and thinking ability much stronger.

Kent Leung said...

I did the whole dropping an egg from the top of a 2-story building exercise at secondary school but didn't learn a thing! Basic modeling lacks the underlying quantitative side of physics.