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Home > Physical Science > Advice on physical science
by Whitney McKnew, Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:13 AM
Physical Science is probably the subject in science in which I struggle with the most. Does anyone have any tips on enhancing my knowledge within the physical sciences? I am also looking for good ideas to bring more physical science into my future classroom if anyone has any ideas.
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by Betty Paulsell, Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:58 PM
Whitney,

You have made a great start by putting a request in the Physical Science Community Forum. Just reading over entries here will help you find many, many ideas. Also, doing a search for physical science in the Learning Center will give you many articles found in NSTA journals. Many of these articles include lesson plans also.
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by Pamela Auburn, Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:05 PM
Whitney,

Are you looking to focus on specific areas within physical science?

If you are looking to improve your own knowledge I strongly recommend that NSTA scipacks. While these have a price, they are all broken into Sci objects that are free. If personal development is your objective the Sci objects are great. If you need to use this to document PD then scipacks are better.
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by Allison Ziolkowski, Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:30 AM
Hello,

I know I have struggled with physical science as well. As was mentioned in another comment, I feel as thought the scipacks and science objects could help with general and specific knowledge about physical science. I've also found it helpful to look at demonstrations on youtube like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACf6IiIpW7k
I know that I am a visual learner. After I see how something can be done, it helps to give me ideas on how to go about teaching it. Hope this helps.

-Allison Ziolkowski
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by Adah Stock, Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:05 PM
Whitney:
Get a copy of the high school version of Conceptual Physics and read it. It is not written like your average textbook. It will highlight the key points you need to know and some practical applications of the content.
Adah
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by Carolyn Mohr, Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:16 PM
Hi Whitney, as Pam mentioned, the NLC has several SciPacks on various physical science concepts. You can take a look at the titles to see which one you might want to try first at SciPacks on Physical Science topics
Also, if you are familiar with the PD indexer under the "My PD Tools" tab in the Learning Center, you can take a preassessment on each to find out which one(s) to start with. Using the PD Indexer is also nice because after you have completed a particular assessment, several different resources are suggested to help increase your knowledge base on a particular science concept.
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by Kathryn Kennedy, Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:18 PM
Hi Whitney -

I feel your pain! What helped me the most was reading the NSTA list-serve emails and then emailing a few individuals whose websites I was visiting almost daily for ideas about day-to-day lessons. The NSTA library also has a ton of resources to use in your class.

Good luck!
Kathryn
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by Sarah Henley, Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:14 PM
Hi Whitney-
I agree with the above posters that the SciPaks may be very useful for you. The depth tends to be about what you will be teaching in an intro Physical Science class. They are sequenced in a very logical way that in turn has helped me to scaffold my own unit plans and lessons. I have a pretty strong grasp of the Physical Science concepts from my college coursework, but they have still proved to be very good refreshers.
Another good resource is the teacher's edition of whatever textbook your school uses. We use a very recent version of PH Physical Science , and each section has a "before you teach" refresher section as well as a planning guide. Textbook manufacturers will often give schools free samples of the teacher's editions of different books, so it might be worth checking out.
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by Patricia Rourke, Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:11 PM
Hello All!
Thanks for the support and ideas all of you are sharing on this thread. It is this openness and descriptions of what we do in our classes that enable us to mentor one-another. I'm certain that you can email or as, Kathryn did, contact an educator whose web site you visit often since it is so useful.

I always found using simulations useful in physical science classes. There are really great ones around. One of them is a site from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

http://phet.colorado.edu/

This site started with university input but continues as a wonderful collaboration of classroom teachers and other educators. Go ahead and visit and search for a few simulations you may find useful for your students. Teachers have also posted lessons but I always found it best to review them; play with the simulation; and then write my own student instructions or craft my own lesson or part thereof.

The Museum of Science in SF is also a great resource.
http://www.exploratorium.edu/

Go ahead and visit. If you do, let us know what you think or better yet what you DO.

many thanks....patty
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by Vanessa Muhammad, Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:46 PM
Thanks for the great resources!!! I can't wait to present them with my students.

Vanessa
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by Sonja Caldwell, Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:56 AM
Hi
Depending on your age group, two website which could be of use to you are discovery education and lesson planet.
http://www.discoveryeducation.com/.
http://www.lessonplanet.com/.
Hope these site are helpful
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by Shanae Hatchell, Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:46 AM
I am in the same boat as you are! I did a lesson today on projectile motion. I am a math teacher and since the next unit we are covering is quadratics, I felt it seemed fit. Many of the resources I used for the lesson came from NFL science online. For the most part, my students were engaged. We didn't have enough computers for everyone so we did the activities and discussions together as a class. My students did a great job understanding the concepts. One student did have a question that I wasn't prepared to answer. She asked, "Why is the path of the objects always a parabola?" Does anyone have an easy way of explaining this? Thanks in advance!
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by Shanae Hatchell, Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:46 AM
I am in the same boat as you are! I did a lesson today on projectile motion. I am a math teacher and since the next unit we are covering is quadratics, I felt it seemed fit. Many of the resources I used for the lesson came from NFL science online. For the most part, my students were engaged. We didn't have enough computers for everyone so we did the activities and discussions together as a class. My students did a great job understanding the concepts. One student did have a question that I wasn't prepared to answer. She asked, "Why is the path of the objects always a parabola?" Does anyone have an easy way of explaining this? Thanks in advance!
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by Tina Harris, Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:55 PM
I remember doing something like this in college and I think it has something to do with the fact that the side-to-side motion is separate from the up-and-down motion caused by gravity. When you throw something like a football, it is trying to go forward and up at the same time and then forward and down at the same time.

The forward speed determines the shape of the parabola - if you toss it "straight up" there is no noticeable parabola. If you toss it weakly, you pretty much only notice one side of the parabola because it is trying to go forward while gravity is trying harder to pull it down - more down than forward.

If you toss it quickly, it has time for more forward than down so the parabola is almost flat. But while there is gravity you still have that curve.

BTW in space, thrown objects do not necessarily move in a parabolic trajectory - no gravity then straight line (Newton's first law). Once gravity starts pulling, however, you get the parabolas or hyperbolic shapes like the paths of comets appear to be as the sun pulls them in.

I think some of these things are covered not only in the science pack but in the "Stop Faking It" books. The teacher down the hall has this one on force and motion but she went home for the day so I thought I would see what I could remember. Hope this helped!
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by Chris Leverington, Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:57 PM
Shanae,

The reason it is in a parabola is that gravity is slowing the object down at the exact same rate that it speeds it up as it starts its descent. So every second that it is climbing, it is being slown down at a rate of 9.8m/s2 and then as it starts to fall it starts at 0 and increases its speed at 9.8m/s2. So hypothetically, 1 second before it stops at the peak, it should be traveling 9.8m/s then 0, then on the way back down after 1 second it would be back at 9.8m/s.

The picture I attached shows this well :)
Attachments
bike1.JPG (0.04 MB)
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by Adah Stock, Thu May 10, 2012 8:46 PM
You might want to also check 'Operation Physics' materials online for more resources. With this said you really need to look at the physical science misconceptions to make sure you make an effort to undo them.
Adah
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by Stephanie Homyak, Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:28 PM
Check out http://www.nbclearn.com/portal/site/learn [/url]and go to Free Resources. They have some great materials and videos on force and motion utilizing video clips from different sports. It really helped solidy the relationship between sports and physical science for my students by using examples of high interest to them. Here's the link for several football videos you might be interested in:
[url=http://www.nbclearn.com/portal/site/learn/science-of-nfl-football]
Stephanie
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by Pamela Auburn, Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:23 AM
There are a number of great sources for free or close to free online education. I like cousera and udacity
https://www.coursera.org/
http://www.udacity.com/


There is a physics class that looks fun starting on June 25th (MONDAY)
http://www.udacity.com/overview/Course/ph100/CourseRev/1
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by Patricia Rourke, Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:02 PM
Whitney,
If you are still following this thread and if you have the opportunity, you might like to attend this free web seminar that deals with some fundamental concepts found in all physical science courses; dealing with temperature and latent heats of energy.

Changing State: Evaporation, Condensation, Freezing, and Melting - Introducing a Free Online Resource for Middle School Chemistry, July 26, 2012

As a general rule, webinar presentations offer background material, inquiry activities, and resources to support educators in crafting lessons for their personal classrooms.

~patty
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by Kendra Young, Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:44 AM
I also see someone has already suggested the physical science Scipacks and the PD Indexer, both of which are excellent resources. The PD Indexer allows you to test your knowledge in specific areas and provides direction about whether or not you need support in that content area.

Also be sure to check out the Science Objects, especially if you only need to focus on a specific area in the physical sciences. The PD Indexer is a wonderful tool to help you narrow your focus to your greatest needs. Here are links to the Science Objects and the PD Indexers offered by NSTA.

Good luck and KUDOS for seeking out the support you need!
Kendra
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by Gail Shimabukuro, Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:07 AM
As I read your post, I chuckled because I too struggle with teaching physical science. This is the reason I chose to enhance my knowledge by learning more through the NSTA scipacks. As far as enhancing your knowledge and lessons, I found that the best thing to do is to target a topic that aligns with the grade level science standards for your state/district and just "Plan it and Do it"! I started with the scipack on Light and as I am learning, I am also searching online and talking to collegues. I found some interesting websites that aligned with my state standards and my new found knowledge. I got good ideas on how to manage the lesson from my cohorts. I am trying out some lessons with my students and we are loving it. I find that the more I engage with lessons (and students of course!), the "enhancement" just comes as I do, refine, redo and discover what works for me and my students! Good luck to you!
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