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A level physics 1st lesson

Discussion in 'Science' started by lejames82, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. Hi all
    I am moving to a school in September where the 6th form intake doubles the number of students in the year and as a result, my AS groups will be half former pupils, half outsiders who don't know anyone.
    I want to tackle this with a little ice breaker in the first lesson followed by some simple intro physics tasks checking their basic skills before moving onto the content.
    Does anyone have any ideas for any physics themed (however loosely) ice breakers, or tasks that may work well in this intro lesson; they have already had the speech about attitude to working etc.
    Thanks very much
  2. My icebreaker was to ask folk to come to the front of the room, try to throw a crumpled piece of paper (with their name on it) over a 2m high rope/metre rule into a waste-paper basket on the floor, then introduce themselves and talk for approx 30s. Successful shots on the basket were entered for a "draw" to win a prize (often a "mooing cow" stick from Hawkins Bazaar). Many times, they all missed.
    Afterwards I would describe how there are things which we know, and which we can do, but A level Physics is about describing things very precisely and often utilising maths to assign numerical values. I would then ask them to sketch a parabola and a hyperbola (do they know these terms? can they give examples of physial relationships related to them?) and then plot "y=x^2" graph. [This allowed them to demonstrate some skills and to have a concrete example to discuss plotting: title, axes, uniform scale, points, best line, etc.]
    Then I would project a large "y=x^2" graph onto the board and show how a projectile followed that path. Homework: write about space craft and astronaut training - lots of freedom, opportunity for some research, etc. (Perhaps ask your second-time-round folk to concentrate on circular motion aspects?)
    PS When all the students have been "new" to me, I've also taken part in the ice-breaker (keeping some details private, obviously [​IMG] )
  3. Orion

    Orion New commenter

    I think that it is quite nice to have them measure various things and make a list and then have them think about scales and how precise they have been.

    Also this shows them how a small thing becomes important in their studies so they need attention to detail.
  4. Depending on length of the lesson and any 'admin' you want to cover, I'd be tempted to do a challenge with them grouped so as to pair new and old students together - either
    1. Rocket Egg Boat race aslong a piece of guttering. This needs stoppered guttering to hold water, polystyrene, balsa or toy boats, wire for a holder, Egg (to be blown and used as boiler, so pins and straws), Blue tack for stopper and tee-lights or candles. This needs a 2 period lesson.
    2. Build an 'armchair' out of ballons that one of the team can sit on without touching the floor. This can be done in one period but needs lots of balloons.
    Both activities have lots of science and you can get them thinking and talking about it,
    Or any other sort of challenge.
  5. rich_hodgetts

    rich_hodgetts New commenter

    Measure 'g' with a pendulum. Closest to 9.81 gets a prize. Lots of opportunities to assess practical skills and lead into a discussion of coursework (for AQA at least).

    You could also do similar with students attempting to measure the density of different materials. I always do this first as it gets them thinking hard about areas, volumes and units.


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