I’m teaching the AS content for the AQA Physics A-level for the second time this year, and have recently had my students carry out the core practical to “find a value for g using a free fall method”. I used the same approach as I used last year, using a “g-ball” as shown in the video below, but have simplified the worksheet that I used. (The one I used last year asked the students to carry out parts of the uncertainty analysis as they were going along, whereas this one… Read more Finding acceleration due to gravity: take 2 →
Circular motion can be a tough topic to teach because some aspects of it are counterintuitive. This is a really simple and elegant way to get across some of the key ideas needed to grasp the physics of what’s going on when an object moves in uniform circular motion. The film was shot and edited by Ed Prosser. The Ogden Trust kindly helped with equipment costs and David Sang advised on the script. One you’ve demonstrated that the velocity of an object in uniform circular motion is at a tangent… Read more Simple Circular Motion Demonstrations →
It’s been a while since The Young Atheist’s Handbook was published but I’ve continued writing about Atheism and Humanism in New Humanist magazine and elsewhere and I have become a trustee of the British Humanist Association. However, I’ve been focussing on my work in science education and am proud to announce that Demo: The Movie, a film about how and why we should use demonstrations in science teaching, is now available to view. It’s very much a film for science teachers and it looks at how we can get our… Read more Looking more closely at the world →
The Government is currently carrying out a consultation on the draft criteria for GCSE Science. Physics textbook writer David Sang, who I’ve worked with in making a number of physics demonstration films, has some concerns which he’s allowed me to share here: I have specifically commented on the Physics sections as I feel unqualified to comment on Biology and Chemistry – although these are clearer and briefer. I have restricted myself to two or three examples of each type of problem, although I could have come up with many more… Read more GCSE Science Consultation →
I remember the first time I saw my name in the credits of a TV programme – it was for the BBC’s Blood of the Vikings. It felt awesome. A few years later, I was lucky enough to see the words “A film by Alom Shaha” on the big screen at the Ritzy Picturehouse, where my short film Do Make Friends was being screened. That felt awesome too. This morning, I saw a tweet from @guardianscience about a film which I am incredibly proud to have written, directed and produced:… Read more Credit where credit’s due →
It’s the Easter holidays and I’m hoping my A-level students are using at least some of the time to revise. I’ve been sending them regular emails reminding them to study and including useful web links when I find them. I’ve recently come across a whole series of A-level Physics Revision Videos on YouTube as well as a single 15 minute video that claims to cover all the electricity in the AS syllabus for the AQA course. I’m impressed by the guys who made these videos – the videos are clear… Read more Revision Videos →
A few years ago, I helped make a bunch of films intended for use in GCSE Science lessons. I was reminded of their existence when a friend of mine stumbled across them on the internet. Below is one about Nuclear Fission which I particularly like (although I’d probably have made it, and the others, differently if I had had editorial control). You can see the whole collection here.
Thanks to the generosity and support of The National STEM Centre and the Institute of Physics, Jonathan Sanderson and I, working with the legendary textbook writer David Sang, have recently completed a batch of videos aimed at sharing classic Physics demonstrations with teachers around the world. You can watch and download the films from here. We hope to be making more of these films later this year, so watch this space for updates.
I’ve recently been marking GCSE “case studies” – coursework where students get to “research a science related question” e.g., Should we use more nuclear power? Are humans responsible for global warming? A friend of mine told me about a really good case study by a student of hers entitled “Does the MMR vaccine cause autism?” It started with the statement “I am interested in this topic because my father decided against having me vaccinated when I was a child.” After looking at a variety of sources of information, the student… Read more The Danger of Science Denial →