Perimeter Institute - EinsteinPlus 2016 - Day 3

Day three began (after breakfast) with a session on Quantum Mechanics. The session was based around the 'Investigating the Nature of the Electron' activity from the Perimeter Institute's materials on 'The Challenge of Quantum Reality'. The first task, 'Classical Particle Behaviour', uses very simple apparatus - sand and a paper coffee cup, to model the...


Perimeter Institute - EinsteinPlus 2016 - Day 2

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Day 2 of EinsteinPlus 2016 saw the group formally welcomed to the spectacular Perimeter Institute building after an equally spectacular breakfast. (There are two excellent bistros at PI, which provided the group with a fabulous range of meals over the week long visit. I'd say more, but there'd be a real danger of this becoming...


Perimeter Institute - EinsteinPlus 2016 - Day 1

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Earlier in the year I was delighted to receive an invitation to the annual Einstein Plus teachers' summer school at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario. A total of forty two teachers from across Canada, USA, Europe and Asia attended the event, comprising workshops, lectures and visits from the 6th to the 12th of July. Having registered...


Newton's G-ball

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'Newton's G-ball', marketed by Swedish company Mollic, is a simple electronic timing device which can be used to measure the freefall time from its point of release to impact on a surface below. It is available from a number of third party suppliers, including djb microtech, Better Equipped and TIMSTAR in the UK and Arbor Scientific in the US. The...


Model Linear Accelerator

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Last June, I made a model particle accelerator using a plastic salad bowl. This was courtesy of a great 'cook-along' online CPD via Google Hangouts hosted by a fellow IOP Network Coordinator, Dan Cottle (@blendedlearner). Dan's video can be seen here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yU7rzgrg6A This tweet from @ArdAcadPhysics shows the accelerator in action - First there...


Response to SQA Consultation on Assessment

The SQA have released a consultation on the assessment arrangements for the new qualifications, which can be found here - surveymonkey.com/r/TFJQCX2  Having blogged recently on the subject of assessment, I have decided to publish my own response. [SQA questions shown in bold, my responses below] 1. Which subject(s) do you deliver? Physics  2. It was intended that Units...


SQA Consultation on Reforming Assessment

In an acknowledgement that there are 'issues' with assessment, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) have opened a on-line consultation. Their survey can be found here - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TFJQCX2 Having produced a few posts recently on the subject of assessment I have been keen to respond to the survey. Once I have checked to make sure it...


How we could reform assessment and certification

In my recent post 'Why we need to reform assessment', I outlined a number of issues which give me concern over the assessment of SQA National 3-5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses, introduced as part of the delivery of Curriculum for Excellence. Whilst there may be many teachers who would wish for a return to...


Why we need to reform assessment

Following on from my post back in May 'Do Exams Pass Under CfE?', I have given the issues of assessment and certification some further consideration, which I discussed in my presentation at this year's Teachmeet SLF 'Breakout' event held at CitizenM, Glasgow back in September. This post is an attempt to summarise and explain the...


Teaching about Radioactivity without Sources

Radioactivity is an exciting, mysterious and scary part of physics for many students, often because their ideas about 'radiation' are closely associated with their ideas about superheroes. Frequently my class discussions with students to gauge their prior knowledge about radiation and radioactivity come round to Stan Lee's Marvel Comics creations - 'Spiderman' and  'The Incredible Hulk'. After explaining...