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

“Hands-On Science Activites for Grades 5-6”

Posted on: July 19, 2008


I picked this book up recently at Barnes & Noble for three dollars.  It was on the extreme discount rack that occasionally appears near the front door.  That day I got lucky with three books on teaching math and science.

I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but I like to take activities intended for middle school and use them in my 12th grade classes.  I find these activities tend to have a higher fun factor and if I find them interesting, at least some of my students should as well.

The book says it contains “over 185 exciting investigations to teach thinking & reasoning skills along with science concepts and facts.”  I would agree.  The activities are typically only one or two pages long with a small conclusion called “Teacher Information.”  The table of contents is one of the most useful I have ever seen.  The chapters are divided into topics and each topic has anywhere from five to more than twenty activities clearly listed in the form of a question.  For example, under Physical Science and the topic of Energy (of which there are 19 activities), activity two asks, “How Much Horsepower Do You Have?”  Then, using only a stopwatch and a calculator, the students use the formula provided to see how their horsepower compares to a motor bike or a car.  Simple, but memorable.

Usually, these kinds of books are easy to find.  For some reason, this one is not.  Nothing on Half.com and the ISBN brought up nothing in a Google search.  The author is Marvin Tolman.  I have the link to the book in the picture above, but if you go to BN.com or Amazon and search his name, you will find he has a whole series of these books available.

Summary: I really like this book for quick activities to start class, another 4/5 Einsteins.


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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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