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

Welcome to a Resource for Physics Teachers

This site is designed to help physics teachers share their ideas. Many of us are the sole physics teacher in their school. It’s nice to know there are others out there to help develop experiments and demonstrations.

I will be listing many of my demos and activities along with a commentary on what works and what doesn’t. This will only work if you other teachers add to the site. Comments, ideas, explanations – all are welcome. This is going to take a while, I only got the idea at the end of May 2008. If you are looking for something in a specific content area, send me an email and I’ll do my best to pull some ideas together.

The school I teach in is new. 2006/2007 was the first year there was a 12th grade. That means I don’t have a lot of equipment for labs. I purchase more each year, but you just don’t get to start out with a $250,000 lab full of equipment. I see myself as the McGyver of physics teachers. Home Depot, the Dollar Store, Walmart, and AC Moore are regular stops on my way home from work.  Administration has been great providing us with funding, but there is an endless supply of cool toys out there and money is tight everywhere.

I’m looking for contributors, even if it’s one or two postings. Comment on my labs and ideas.  Correct my errors.  I need your participation.  Don’t be shy, you can always email me through the contact page. Thanks for stopping by.

– Scott

18 Responses to "Welcome to a Resource for Physics Teachers"

This is a great idea, Scott! I’ll be back!

Some really fun inspirational stuff here Scott. I have already downloaded a few sheets on Maths for Physicists as I have been worried about introducing the skills required for the new course. I am new to Advanced Physics teaching and your site has given me some great ideas- ie. Projectile velocity with a nerf gun!


great idea, well done!

Thank you for the ideas. Every minute of time you put into this site saves people like me thousands of kid-minutes (100 kids x 52 minutes of class = 5,200) a couple times a week. I’m a second year teacher teaching physics for the first time and I can use every bit of help I can get.

Hey thanks! I’m also a second year teacher, teaching at an international school is Seoul. These resources are a gem!

Thanks for starting this site!! I am starting my first year teaching this year, so I’m always looking for good resources!

it is a nice idea. One of my colleague and I are working in an inquiry project to make a model of a hydro electric power station. This model might help students in understading how potential energy of water can be used to generate electrical energy. We have designed our plan and are now in the process of searching material. Can anybody given us suggestions in this regard, please?

Zaheer, I would recommend asking direct questions. Clearly water has been used for hundreds of years as a power source. Water wheels have driven grain mills and we now use the same basic system to generate electricity. If you are building small models, any electric hobby motor can be used as a generator when spun by a mechanical energy source. The key is then translating the power of the water’s movement into enough speed to drive the generator. Gears or pulleys will allow you to teach about torque and mechanical advantage. Let the students design their own water wheels and play with different designs. Have them compete the designs, see who can generate the most electric power from the same source.

Yes Scott, your ideas are interesting and will help me in the inquiry project.

Thank you, Scott, for the very helpful blog! I am a chemistry teacher with a physics teaching credential. This coming school year I will be teaching physics (besides chemistry) for the first time. Just like you said, I am the only physics teacher in my school, and your website is really helpful!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’ve all been there.

Thanks for the ideas you put in this site every day serve people like me thousand times of service

I love being part of this programme cause I love the idea,it serves me a thousand times help.

Great work friend. I read ur Van de Graaf excursions. Very interesting. Pl keep doing this.

Hi! I will start teaching high school robotics in Texas next school year (2013-14). Can anyone tell me what certification I need to teach it? Someone advised me to take a Technology Applications Certification, but I don’t see Robotics in any of the domains. Is a Composite Science Certification be enough?

Your Standard-based grading is interesting! It reminds me of the concept “mastery-based learning” which I learned from a course in coursera called “blended learning”, also emphasing that students can learn in different paces and the ultimate goal is to master what they leaern.
My question is that if students do that, how can you arrange lab? Because they should have labs at the same time right? What if not all of them have mastered the knowledge required for the lab?
I’m a physics teacher in my first year teaching in an international school in Shanghai. Your experiments inspired me. I will keep following this blog! Thank you very much!
BTW I have a background of engineering,too. Before being a teacher, I worked in an R&D department 🙂


Hi Wendy,
I don’t own Standards-Based Grading and I certainly didn’t create it, I just love the results and preach the merits.
I think what you are missing is that the pacing of the class doesn’t really change. The students learn in an informal lecture, they perform labs, do homework, and quiz weekly. What is different is that each student gets a series of quizzes based on their current level in the course.
Labs are never done after they have mastered the concepts. I use the labs to make the theoretical more concrete. Sometimes labs reinforce ideas, sometimes they help the students form models as we learn the concepts. Some day I’ll get into a modeling course, but at this rate, I’ll retire before that happens.

I love your page!! Makes me happy to know I am not the only who faces these things.

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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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