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ERIC Number: EJ1117774
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Nov
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
The "Finding Physics" Project: Recognizing and Exploring Physics outside the Classroom
Beck, Judith; Perkins, James
Physics Teacher, v54 n8 p466-468 Nov 2016
Students in introductory physics classes often have difficulty recognizing the relevance of physics concepts outside the confines of the physics classroom, lab, and textbook. Even though textbooks and instructors often provide examples of physics applications from a wide array of areas, students have difficulty relating physics to their own lives. Encouraging students to apply physics to their own surroundings helps them develop the critical analysis skills of a scientifically literate and competent citizen. Fink, in his book "Creating Significant Learning Experiences," emphasizes the importance of constructing opportunities to help students connect what they learn in their academic courses with past and current life experiences and link them to possible future life experiences. Several excellent papers in this journal have presented labs and activities that address this concern by encouraging teachers to bring real-world examples into the classroom or to take students into the field for data collection and observation. Alternatively, Smith suggests a writing exercise in which his students identify and explain an event in terms of their understanding of physics. In this paper we present a multiphase exercise that challenges students to find their own examples of physics from outside the classroom and analyze them using the conceptual understanding and quantitative skills which they are developing in the classroom. The ultimate goal of the "Finding Physics" project is to improve students' learning through enhancing their recognition that, to quote one participant's end-of-course survey, "Physics is everywhere!"
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A