Physics & Physical Science Demos, Labs, & Projects for High School Teachers

“Teaching Physics with Toys”

Posted on: July 16, 2008


This is a great resource for a Physics or Physical Science teacher.  In fact, this book is within arms reach of me as I type this.  I would say it is one of the first places I go when I’m looking for a creative new activity or experiment.  The cover says it’s for K-9, but I use it with my seniors and find that the labs and activities are just fine.

I referred to this book in my post about the construction of an electric motor using a D cell, wire, and a magnet.  The book is a wealth of ideas and I’ve used it as the starting point of an experiment.  I mentioned in the other post that there is an updated version that I have not seen.

Summary: Worthy of your shelf space, rated 4/5 Einsteins.

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1 Response to "“Teaching Physics with Toys”"

My favorite toys to use in physics lab are old hotwheels track. The best are the orange track. You can find them on ebay or craigs list or just garage sales. About $0.75 per track is kind of a going rate. Or ask the kids and they can bring in donations of track and cars (they don’t seem to want to part with this track and the cars for anyone but a physics teacher!) In addition to track the loop-de-loops, jumps, connectors and table connectors are useful. CP physics lab book has some initial easy labs to do with them. THe one I like the best is when students use kinematic equations to calculate where a jump should be placed after a steep incline factoring in efficiency (of course!) Then they place the jump right there and see how far off they were. Similar to the loop.

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What’s New in 2013/2014?

Every year brings a change, this one is no exception.

I will be picking up the sophomore honors Algebra II class to keep them separate from the juniors. This should help accelerate them and put them on a stronger track towards Calculus. Looks like there will be only one section each of Physics and Calculus, but still two of Robotics & Engineering.

Hot topics this year are going to be the Common-Core Standards, Standards-Based Grading (SBG), improving AP Calculus scores, and somehow adding Python, maybe as a club.

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