Physics Explorations
Shodor > SUCCEED > Curriculum > Workshops > Physics Explorations

Course Description:

The famous physics legend claims that Isaac Newton was inspired to the classical laws of physics when an apple fell on his head. Modern physicists tend to keep their inspirational 'Apples' away from their craniums and on top of their desks or laps...

This 15-hour intensive session is designed to introduce aspiring middle-school scientists (rising 7th- through 9th-graders) to the study of a few classical physics systems. What type of optical rules govern the way a telescope is built, or allow a camera to function? What determines the flight path of a baseball or a rocketship? How do electricity and magnetism combine to make a moving motor? The session is designed to inspire through hands-on experimentation with physical 'apples' and yet lend greater insight with support of a computational models.

Educational Objectives:

Classical physics deals in large part with the motion and interaction of objects encountered in our daily lives, whereas modern physics is increasingly involved with the exploration of phenomena that are either too large (galaxies) or too small (atomic particles) to be experienced directly. Successful modern scientists are generally able to "get a picture" of modern systems by combining knowledge and experience of physical laws with computational tools to make the theoretical relationships actually visible in graphical form. The goal of this workshop is to introduce this style of science at the beginning of the process - exposing students both to the fun of exploring physics in a laboratory type setting and to the insight offered by computational models.


Participants should be rising 7th - 9th graders or the equivalent and interested in science. While some experience with computers is helpful, it is not required.