Monday, April 9, 2012

Blowing Students' Minds

This is one of my favorite parts of teaching—that moment when you tell kids something, and they give you that look.

"Seriously? No way!"

I teach such a wide range of kids, those jaw-dropping moments can come in a variety of ways, especially during the years when I've taught physics. Here are a few examples.

  • When it's three o'clock Thursday afternoon for us, it's eight o'clock Friday morning in Australia.
  • How dirt-simple derivatives in calculus can be with shortcuts like the Power Rule, yet still give the same information as the long limit-definition way.
  • What happens when you shoot a laser pointer through a piece of diffraction grating (or a prism, or a lens).
  • What happens when you look through a piece of diffraction grating at a prism while outside in the sun. (This was accidental, and very cool. We had fun in our color and optics unit.)
  • The whole idea of traveling close to the speed of light and all the crazy things that go along with it, like the Twin Paradox.
  • The crazy things that just plain sound waves do to cornstarch and water.


What are some things (from school or just life) that blew your mind when you learned about them?


Jemi Fraser said...

I've never tried the speaker one, but it always looks so fun. :)

E.B. Black said...

I was best friends with a guy who lived in Australia. When we'd talk, I'd ask him how the future was going.

Jean Oram said...

That is way too cool. The cornstarch looks alive! It's like Flubber! :)