Sunday, May 24, 2009

World's Largest Physics Lesson

No, I don't throw away such description cavalierly. Supposedly, those folks at Guninness Book of World Records have certified it as such.

On May 7 2009 at the Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, the world's largest physics lesson was conducted.

The largest physics lesson involved 5,401 participants who were taught by Steve Spangler Science (USA) during a presentation at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, USA, on 7 May 2009. The event was part of the 9News Weather & Science Day hosted by Steve Spangler and Kathy Sabine. Guinness World Records™ Adjudicator, Danny Girton, was present at the event to award the new record.

You can also read more about it here.

The question is, how effective was it rather than simply being a gimmick to get into the World Record book?



Mamacita (The REAL one) said...

How effective was it? Wow, over five thousand participants and tons more observers witnessed a scientific experiment! I think that's extremely effective! Spangler knows the difference between a mundane book-lesson and a hands-on genuine lesson, and he understands that kids (of any age) learn better and with more enthusiasm when THEY are an active part of an experiment, not merely inert witnesses. And remember, too, that what we learn while laughing, we tend to REMEMBER.

Oh, yes, I believe this venture was extremely successful, and that the Guinness award was merely icing on a very, very tasty cake.

Dr. Earl Reum said...

The Weather & Science Day was planned far in advance of any consideration for a Guinness World Record. The first contact to GWR was made only three weeks prior to the event (truly an after-thought).

How effective was it? During a recap meeting with the Colorado Rockies events management team, 9News KUSA and Steve Spangler Science, the post-event survey statistics were released by the Events & Promotions staff for the Colorado Rockies. The audience (5,400+) consisted of primarily school groups from the Denver-Metro area. This being the "first annual" event of its kind for the Colorado Rockies and 9News, teachers received a written survey at the end of the event for their feedback. The response rate for the survey was over 60%, and of those who responded 100% said they would attend a future Science Day with Steve Spangler and the Colorado Rockies.

Each of the 5,400 people learned about Bernoulli's Principle by inflating their own Windbag (the view from the helicopter is very cool), watched as sun heated giant solar bags (~20 meters long) which floated over the field, learned about Newton's Third Law using a giant potato canon, and wrapped up with a demonstration of Charles' Law and Boyle's Law as exploding bottles in trash cans drew a great response from the crowd.

The goal was to get students talking about science, thinking about science and doing science... and to make it fun at the same time. As someone who was sitting in the stands with cheering kids on all sides, I'd say that it probably worked. What do you think?

Unknown said...

I have to agree with Mamacita. Steve Spangler is a teacher's teacher. He excites kids by putting science into their hands. He demonstrates that science is not a spectators sport. You have to get dirty to learn and have fun too.