The Coulomb Train Model
The Coulomb Train Model (CTM) is a conceptual model that can help students understand electric circuits.
- Teaching Electric Circuits? Climb On Board The Coulomb Train — an introduction to the CTM
- Potential Divider Circuits and the Coulomb Train Model — using the CTM to teach potential divide circuits
- The Coulomb Train Model Revisited (Part 1) — animated CTM diagrams to introduce current and potential difference
- The Coulomb Train Model Revisited (Part 2) — animated CTM diagrams focusing on potential difference
- The Coulomb Train Model Revisited (Part 3) — animated CTM diagrams to introduce electrical resistance
- The Coulomb Train Model Revisited (Part 4) — animated CTM diagrams to introduce parallel circuits (I am a proponent of the ‘parallel first’ heresy)
- The Coulomb Train Model Revisited (Part 5) — animated CTM diagrams to introduce series circuits
- Booklet for teaching the Coulomb Train Model — what it says on the tin!
- Circuit Diagrams: Lost in Rotation? — an alternative way of drawing circuit diagram to make the distinction between the potential difference of a cell and the potential difference across a resistor clearer
FIFA Calculation System
FIFA in this context is nothing to do with football! It is a mnemonic which helps GCSE students gain more marks on calculation questions (especially with AQA mark schemes) and avoids the use of formula triangles.
- FIFA for the GCSE Calculation Win! — the FIFA calculation “system” (if that’s not too grandiose a word) introduced.
- Physics Six Mark Calculation Question? Give It The Old FIFA One Two! — advice for tackling the extended calculation questions.
- FIFA and Really Challenging GCSE Physics Calculation Questions — advice for tackling the very hardest GCSE calculation question
Energy (including Energy “Newspeak”)
- The Renaming of Parts; or Energy is the New Orange — my first impressions of the IoP’s (Institute of Physics) project to change the way teachers and students talk about energy
- IoP Energy: Notes Toward a Diagrammatic Teaching Approach — this post attempts (and mostly fails!) to bridge the gap between the old “forms of energy” approach and the new approach
- IoP Energy: It’s About The Physics, Stupid! — this is my response to some discussions that made me realise I was barking up the wrong tree in the previous post
- IoP Energy: Once More Into The Breach — distinguishing between “stores” and “pathways”
- IoP Energy For Busy Teachers — I’m really proud of this one: a one-stop summary for busy teachers with a dash of humour
- Thermal Energy and Internal Energy — what exactly is the difference between thermal energy and internal energy?
- Photosynthesis and Energy Stores — this whole energy refit thang won’t work unless Biology teachers are singing off the same hymn sheet….
Some of these may be a little dated, but hopefully still capable of raising a smile or a giggle…
- George Eliot And The Internet — intriguing evidence is presented that George Eliot (the author of Middlemarch and Silas Marner) is actually the originator of the modern Internet…
- Why, Mr Gradgrind, Thou Art Updated! — a critique of neo-Gradgrindian “21st Century” education
- The FBI And Gang Signs For Physicists — this is one of my most viewed posts, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why…
- Room 808 — Room 101 updated(!) to a 2017 educational context
- Markopalypse Now! — a must for The League of Gentlemen fans
- What To Do If Your School Has A Batshit Crazy Marking Policy — hopefully this is less relevant in these more enlightened times, but you never can tell….
Forces and Newton’s Laws of Motion
- The Acceleration Required Practical Without Light Gates (And Without Tears) — what it says on the tin (but see also Part Deux below)
- Fear of Forces? Keep Calm and Draw Free Body Diagrams — an introduction to drawing “exploded” free body diagrams
- Keep Calm and Draw Free Body Diagrams (Part 2) — more free body diagram fun…
- The Acceleration Required Practical Without Light Gates (Part Deux) — using dynamics trolleys to complete the GCSE acceleration practicals with a stopclock and metre ruler
- Forces and Inclined Planes — what it says on the tin…
- The Force Is Zero With This One — Newton’s First Law introduced using Galileo’s rolling ball “thought experiment”
- Teaching Newton’s Third Law — N1 and N2 tell us how forces affect objects, but N3 tells us how objects affect each other…
- A Gnome-inal Value For g — using a gnome called Kern to measure the nominal value for g (seriously!)
Dual Coding and other physics teaching hacks
- Teaching Magnification Using the Singapore Bar Model — a really neat way (imo) of teaching magnification problems using diagrams
- Dual Coding SUVAT Problems — a really useful convention for presenting SUVAT problems. The content is KS5 but the convention is useful for students in KS3 and KS4 as well.
- Why Does Kinetic Energy = 1/2mv^2? — a surprisingly popular post!
- Simple Harmonic Motion and the Top Gear Challenge — the post that required the largest number of rewrites to get right!
- Visualising How Transformers Work — some nice animated GIFS that can be copied and pasted into your own PowerPoints (if you wanted to)
p-prims and the knowledge-in-pieces model
- The p-prim path to enlightment (2017) — a p-prim or phenomenological primitive is a very basic idea that is used to interpret observations: closer-means-stronger or more-resistance-means-smaller-output are examples of p-prims
- Crossing Cognitive Chasms With p-prims (2018) — can we help students understand complex ideas if we “prime the pump” by suggesting a particular p-prim?
- Using p-prims For Fun And Profit (2018) — a more detailed exposition of the above
- Corinne’s Shibboleth and Embodied Cognition (2018) — thoughts on the Resources Framework of learning in physics as outlined by Redish and Kuo (2015)
- Misconceptions and p-prims at ResearchED (2021) — more detailed thoughts on the Resources Framework (PowerPoint of ResearchED talk)
Magnetism and Electromagnetism
- Electric Motors Without The Left Hand Rule (2020) — explaining the direction of a force on a current-carrying wire in a magnetic using the catapult field diagram
- Magnetism? THERE IS NO MAGNETISM!!! (2020) — using special relativity to explain the origin of magnetic forces (a treatment suitable for 14-18 year old students)
- Sussing Out Solenoids With Dot And Cross (2021) — improving student understanding of the magnetic field produced by a solenoid using the ‘dot and cross’ convention
- Nature Abhors a Change in Flux (2021) — improving student understanding of magnetic flux and electromagnetic induction (featuring the common example of a magnet dropped through a coil)
- Visualising How Transformers Work (2021) — what it says on the tin, including FIFA for solving transformer equation problems
- Signposting Fleming’s Left Hand and Right Hand Rules (2021) — using folded, printed card as a manipulable to help student understanding of Fleming’s rules