Make Your Own Comic Strip for Teaching!

A concept cartoon is an innovative way of eliciting discussions about science concepts. For example, it can present differing views on a scientific phenomenon from different characters.

I am not an artist but do wish sometimes that I could make classroom discussions more interesting by using relevant cartoons or comic strips. Then I stumbled upon some websites that enable you to create your own comic strips using readily drawn characters and images. The characters have a number of common facial expressions, which makes the story-telling fun. You may even add on your own colours or drawings such as backgrounds and other objects later on after you have downloaded the soft copy of the image for the strip that you have made.

Do try out http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/Comix/ where I made a strip as a trial. I certainly hope to get more ideas for teaching in future where this will come in handy.

Free Concept Cartoon Generators

How to survive a lightning strike

This is an interesting question on electricity: in order to survive a lightning strike, which of the following costumes offer the best protection? A coat of armour, your birthday suit, a wetsuit or a superman costume? Watch this MinuteEarth video on Faraday's cage to find out!

18 Must-Have Items for a Physics Teacher

Many a science teacher would have wanted to conduct a demonstration at the last minute but could not do so due to a lack of equipment or material. I have experienced that many times and even though I have many of these items hidden somewhere in some drawer, I can never seem to be able to find them.

So here is a list of items that I intend to pack into a toolbox for any teaching emergency.

Scissors
Adhesive tape
String
Copper wire (bare)
Copper wire (insulated)
Pair of wires with crocodile clips
3 Neodymium magnets
6 ball bearings
1 PVC tube
1 PVC track
Wool
3 pendulum bobs
Box of paper clips
3 balloons
2 candles
Lighter
Aluminium can
Plastic bottle

 

Electromagnetism Lecture

I enjoy lecturing on topics like Superposition and Electromagnetism in the GCE A-level syllabus as they lend themselves well to the use of fun demonstrations that I can perform in front of the audience.

One of the recent demonstrations that I did was to demonstrate the measurement of the magnetic force acting on a wire and to show that the force can be inverted when the current is reversed. The magnitude of the force can be shown to be consistent with the relationship F = BIl sin theta, where B is the magnetic flux density, I is the current within the wire, l is the length of the wire and theta is the angle between the wire and the magnetic field. This can be illustrated by independently varying one of the 4 variables and observing the change in force.

The setup is also a good for a demonstration to illustrate Fleming's Left-Hand Rule.

For more details, visit http://www.scienses.com/measuring-the-force-on-a-current-carrying-conductor/.

Meanwhile, here's a video I made to show what I did:

Thorium as an alternative source of nuclear energy

It's about time Singapore considered building a liquid fluoride thorium reactor as a safe source of nuclear energy. From the video, it would appear that thorium is safe as it cannot be weaponized, does not require high pressure containers and the risk of a meltdown does not exist. For a small island state like Singapore, this presents an attractive way of obtaining relatively clean abundant energy. I'm sure if we think hard enough we will be able to solve the other problems such as storage of waste products.

Perhaps the part of our syllabus on Nuclear Physics will need to be updated then.

Siphoning water


This video is taken during my IP4 class today. My students are making use of rubber tubes to demonstrate how we can use gravity to siphon water from one place to another. As long as the level of the source is higher than the level of the receiving end, we can do so.

Angular Displacement - 2011 A-level question

A disc rotates clockwise about its centre O until point P has moved to point Q, such that OP equals the length of the straight line PQ. What is the angular displacement of OQ relative to OP?

A.   \frac{\pi}{3} rad

B.   \frac{2\pi}{3} rad

C.   \frac{4\pi}{3} rad

D.   \frac{5\pi}{3} rad

Static Electricity

image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/243992

This question is meant for TA 2B and 2C Physics students.

Other than the demonstrations we have tried out during class, could you think of any other way in which static electricity can be observed?

Please leave your comments below. You may need to log in to Facebook while doing so.

p-V diagram Sudoku time!

For the topic of Thermal Physics, JC1 students can try to make sense of p-V diagrams using the following exercise, which does not involve any calculation. They will need to fill in the cells in the table below with any of the three (+, - or 0) to indicate whether there is heat transfer, work done on the gas, or a change in internal energy.