Physical Science

Tying Physics to the Real World

Recently I was fortune enough to spend the day aboard the USS Columbus nuclear attack submarine. It was an incredible experience and one I continue to find ways to share with my students. I wanted to post a contact name for the US Navy for those that might want to initiate a working relationship for educational outreach with a real-world setting. There were an amazing amount of opportunities for students to see and work with real time data that is generated by the sub as it does practice maneuvers, etc... And the crew really "gets into it" when the get to show off what they do. If anyone is interested you can contact: Cmdr. Christy Hagen, APR Public Affairs Officer Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet 1430 Morton St., Bldg 619 Pearl Harbor, HI 96860-4664 808-473-0911 work 703-261-9710 Google voice (home/cell) Christina.hagen@navy.mil

Nancy Iaukea
Nancy Iaukea
2690 Activity Points

Tying our physical science applications to real life is important and putting students in situations where they are prepared and apply content is an indelible memory. The Challenger Center is a great space "mission" simulation to put Middle school ages through applying their content knowledge to successfully complete the mission. Concepts like density, volume, mass are prepared utilized by the students. If you have never experienced it check it out...The State is always trying to cut the funding for this program but I for one, am a supporter of the content and outcome. Students have always come back and talked about their memories of this field trip. http://www.k12.hi.us/~space/

Kyle Nakamoto
Kyle Nakamoto
1560 Activity Points

There are some interesting articles in the Learning Center that also tie physics into the real world include
An Island of Stability which discusses how cars frequently leave islands of gravel or sand in places on a road and solving the math to explain why
Robots on Water on making robots that will solve problems
A Computer Story: Complexity from Simplicity discussed how to start with a simple electrical circuit and build to a discussion of how calculators analyze data.

Tina Harris
Tina Harris
65795 Activity Points

Thanks for posting those resources! I'm always looking for a way to help my kids understand that science really is reflected in the real world. After all, science explains how the real world works! I think going on to a real working sub and analyzing realtime data would be such a marvelous experience for my students! Personally, I think they're bored with simulations since they don't really show 'real' reality, but a sort of controlled reality. This is a better alternative. Thank you for sharing.

Angelo Laskowsky
Angelo Laskowsky
2190 Activity Points

What a great idea! I am not near a Naval base but I am close to several Air Force and Army bases. In thinking about what you must of learned about real world physics is exciting. I hope that I can have the success that you did.

Kimberley Norris-Jones
Kimberley Norris-Jones
2875 Activity Points

I teach 9th grade Basic Physics and tying the real world to the equations and concepts my students are learning is one of my main goals as an educator. We are currently studying different types of energies and the difference between potential & kinetic energy. I do a lesson based of this awesome curriculum by NASA. The lab involves students creating "roller coasters" using foam pipe insulation and running a "passenger cart" (marbles!)through the track. The group whose marble stays on the track and can complete the course in the shortest amount of time wins. er.jsc.nasa.gov/seh/amuse_park_physics.pdf

Joanna Kobayashi
Joanna Kobayashi
490 Activity Points

There is a great book called "The Flying Circus of Physics" that explains the physics in things that occur in the real world. http://www.flyingcircusofphysics.com/TheBook.aspx It has some neat questions you can challenge your students with. Adah

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101490 Activity Points

I just recently applied and registered to be a Nasa Educator with the Nasa Explore Schools program. This website has lessons aligned with standards that apply Nasa problems and situations. This website also has videos of actual NASA events, situations and experiments. There are also opportunities to speak with actual NASA engineers and scientists. http://explorerschools.nasa.gov/web/nes/home

James Bright
James Bright
4100 Activity Points

It is a great idea to tie in physics to the real world. Students have difficulty in relating what they are learning to the real word and making the content relevant by taking the students on a field trip is a great way to get the students engaged.

Sung Yi
Sung Yi
1555 Activity Points

Hi Sung Yi, Thanks for joining this discussion. Can you chat a bit about types of field trips that you think may tie in physics to the real world for students? Where do you teach and what field trips may be available for you and your students? ~patty

Patricia Rourke
Patricia Rourke
45915 Activity Points

I currently teach chemistry and physics at Farrington high school and also co advise the civil engineering club. This year, I was able to take the students to the engineering department at University of Hawaii. The students had a tour of the engineering department by the professors and got to talk to the engineering students. I also got to take the students to H power plant which converts garbage into electrical energy. Next year, I am hoping to take the students to other engineering and science field trips. For physics, I think that taking the students on field trips to different job fields that utilize physics is the best way to get the students interested in physics and science. One of the field trips that I will take the students on next year is to engineering sites where things are being built. Since I am teaching mainly seniors, I want to expose them to as many job fields to hopefully influence them to choose a field in science.

Sung Yi
Sung Yi
1555 Activity Points

Aloha Sung Yi, It sounds like your students will have wonderful opportunities to visit sites and to speak with engineers and scientists. I am wondering what you do in the civil engineering club. What structures do you build and test? What kinds of projects do your students do? ~patty

Patricia Rourke
Patricia Rourke
45915 Activity Points

Currently, we are designing a parking lot. The students are given are map of an area and need to build the most efficient parking structure with the allotted space. The students are given requirements for the parking structure and will compete with other civil engineering clubs. I have also had the students create bridges using bass wood and also compete in the west point bridge building contest.

Sung Yi
Sung Yi
1555 Activity Points

This is the second year that I have scheduled the Barnstorming Tour of the Pacific Aviation Museum to present to my class and all of the tracks at Kapolei Middle School. These former pilots and flight instructors integrate physics, Newtons laws of motion, Bernoulli's principle's and Aviation. My goal after seeing the reactions on all of my student's faces is to have them that exciting about science every day. The students are captivated and engaged all the while learning about physical science. I wish they had this when I was in school.

James Bright
James Bright
4100 Activity Points

Forgot to post the website, Hawaii teachers take advantage. http://www.pacificaviationmuseum.org/

James Bright
James Bright
4100 Activity Points

How wonderful that two teachers from Hawaii are posting back-to-back on this thread! This helps to build a community. James, thank you for sharing the resource. It has been some time since I was in a traditional classroom, since I deliver PD to teachers now, but my students used to take advantage of the West Point Bridge Contest and use their software. Sung Yi, could you be kind enough to share the current sites with us and tell us a bit more about this bridge building contest? I am sure that it has evolved within the past decade. Thanks a bunch. ~patty

Patricia Rourke
Patricia Rourke
45915 Activity Points

The bridge design contest is called the West Point Bridge Design Contest and is run by West Point in New York. The students download a free software from the website and design a bridge that has the lowest cost. The students then enter their design to the website and if they are chosen, they go onto the semi finals and from their the finals. The finals are held in West Point and the students are given free laptops and if they win a $10,000 scholarship. It is free to enter and a few of my students got to the semi finals but did not make it to the finals this year. It is a great way to learn about forces in physics and the students can try it on their own at home. The design contest is run every year starting in January and ending in May. The website is http://bridgecontest.usma.edu/. Sung

Sung Yi
Sung Yi
1555 Activity Points

Sung Yi, Congratulations to you and your students for actively participating in national engineering contests. I have 2 additional questions 1. How is the parking lot/facility coming along? 2. How long have you been involved with the club? Have you seen an interest in civil engineering with your students? Any civil engineers yet? Thanks so much for sharing. We will have to keep your posting on the bridge in mind for when teachers start looking for this type of project in the next academic year. Way to go, Kiddo! ~patty

Patricia Rourke
Patricia Rourke
45915 Activity Points

This video from NASA, regarding the Electromagnetic Spectrum, is super informative! Excellent introduction to wave properties too! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPcAWNlVl-8 (The whole video) http://missionscience.nasa.gov/ems/emsVideo_01intro.html (Different sections)

Joanna Kobayashi
Joanna Kobayashi
490 Activity Points

After reading through these posts, I wonder how many science teachers are reaching out to the local universities for help. Not only will the local Physics Departments be resourceful, but the Physics Clubs at these universities might be helpful. Seeing some of the higher level physics labs at the universities and what types of projects are being completed might help tie in some more real world experiences. The question is how will administration perceive a trip to a local university since it can serve two purposes. First a tie into physics and second a college visit. One of the things that my local university provides for free is the use of the observatory on certain days. Getting hands on experience might open up doors for students who were not making connections in physics.

Erik Shoemake
Erik Shoemake
20 Activity Points

Hi Patty, The students in my civil engineering club recently finished their parking lot activity and they won first place! My students were really nervous presenting their parking lot activity to the panel but their overall design and report beat out the other schools. This year is actually the first year I am advising the civil engineering club. Most of the students in the club want to be electrical engineers but I have one or two that are thinking of civil engineering. Sung

Sung Yi
Sung Yi
1555 Activity Points

Hi Joanna K! Thank you for the delightful material on space and the electromagnetic spectrum. Science is out there for sure! And yes, capable of being analyzed in earthly venues via tools based on the wave theory of light. ideas can open windows of wonder and understanding for our students and may just be a sweet carrot to ladder understanding. Perhaps resources such as these will prod students to pose questions and to look for ways to apply basic knowledge to problem solving. This is a core concept in the new standards, I believe. Thanks so much for sharing. Please chime back in and tell us how you have used this material and perhaps how your students have reacted. Classroom 'stories' are marvelous reading. We look forward to hearing more from you. ~patty

Patricia Rourke
Patricia Rourke
45915 Activity Points

Congratulations to your students, Sung, on their fine achievement with their parking lot design and activity. I feel certain that they will remember this exercise and their efforts fondly and more importantly, it will be a building block in the development of their engineering skills. And as cognitive scientists tell us, students learn best when they apply their knowledge to real world situations and integrate content learning with problem solving. If you have a moment, tell us a bit about how the efforts of your students compared to the efforts of the others. What do the students believe led their submission to the winning circle? Teachers who guide students such as you also deserve congratulations, too, Sung. Great job! Thank you so much for continuing to share with us. ~patty

Patricia Rourke
Patricia Rourke
45915 Activity Points

Hi Eric, Welcome to this thread and thank you for moving the discussion toward collaborations among pre-college educators and university personnel. I believe many teachers who attend science conferences that include college and pre-college teachers often make connections with local institutions and either share learning ideas, borrow equipment, invite university personnel into classrooms, or take students on appropriate field trips to science labs or as you mentioned in your posting, observatories. Many universities also actively seek out collaboration with high school and/ or middle school teachers wishing to write grants together or to share resources and learning venues. AAPT and NSTA are natural organizations for teachers to make connections and AIP also holds special sessions at their conferences for local teachers. Get your name out there and become involved with these science organizations to further mutual interactions or call upon your past professors for assistance if you are in that area. Many teachers interact with local university personnel to further the science education of their students, not only in physics but in other content areas as well. Thank you for wondering about this and opening this window for other to chime in. Where do you teach? Is there a local physics teachers association in your area? If not, consider inviting local teachers to your school for coffee and donuts and starting a forum for sharing among each other. Administrators often support these grass roots efforts at building local communities of learning. Go for it!! You sound like you have the potential to be a great agent of change in your local community, Eric. ~patty

Patricia Rourke
Patricia Rourke
45915 Activity Points

Thanks for the suggestion of this book. There is a great book called "The Flying Circus of Physics" that explains the physics in things that occur in the real world. http://www.flyingcircusofphysics.com/TheBook.aspx I teach 5th grade and have been looking for different ways to challenge my students.

Laura Maricle
Laura Maricle
1745 Activity Points

Laura, It is wonderful to have you mention The Flying Circus of Physics. This book was a mainstay of many physical science and physics classes for a long time and has slipped from the memory a bit. Jearl Walker, the author, also has a fun web site that may offer interesting resources to the teachers. http://www.flyingcircusofphysics.com/ spotlight stories of the month and some interesting videos. Thank you for bring this resource forward again. Laura, are there particular segments of the book that you find of use in your 5th grade teaching? please share with us when you have a moment. We would all be interested. ~patty

Patricia Rourke
Patricia Rourke
45915 Activity Points

the NASA science news items certainly tie classroom learning to what is happening in space- you may sign up for the service Here is an example: NASA Science News for July 15, 2013 Drinking coffee in space is surprisingly tricky. Physicists researching the strange behavior of fluids onboard the International Space Station have invented a zero-g coffee cup to make the morning "cuppa Joe" a little easier to swallow. FULL STORY: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/15jul_coffeecup/ VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZYsOG60dKQ

Patricia Rourke
Patricia Rourke
45915 Activity Points

I just saw this thread.. James... I knew NASA has many great educational resources, but I didn't know about the classroom program. I just checked it out and it sounds like a great program! Thanks for sharing!

Jennie Price
Jennie Price
5220 Activity Points

Tina, I love the links you have up for the real world applications!! I will save those to my library for future use!! Thanks.

Mary Carder
Mary Carder
4025 Activity Points

Great links. Has anyone attached these ideas to the Next Generation Standards?

Nancy Stephenson
Nancy Stephenson
2085 Activity Points

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