I am starting to worry about how we teach Physics to the pupils of today. It seems increasingly obvious that we teach more and more about things that are really unimportant to science and less about the fundamentals.
For example we spent a lot of time on the new HSW curriculum on identifying the type of a variable i.e. categorical, continuous and similar. This allows the pupils to decide which graph type to draw in an ISA exam for AQA and similar boards. However, really is that a skill that they need in their everyday lives or society needs for scientists of the future?
Now try some of these video cartoon clips https://www.animatedscience.co.uk/flv/ from KOCE (also see list on that page).
When you start to think about it, why is school Physics not split like this for all pupils into five main sections. Then just look at the topics they are such simple fundamental things which everyone should know about for their everyday lives. Also the right way to teach for pupils who go onto to Uni and further!
How many pupils really know about how a wheel works or simple lever, possibly mans greatest inventions. However, somehow written out by the QCA from KS3 and KS4. On the select few who take A-Level Physics are supposed to learn about these basic things of life?
Even more interestingly to really see if school science has failed is ask these question to a pupil. “What do stars do”. They will all answer “emit light”. Then you refine it…. “apart from emit light” which is obviously a secondary thing. Then 99% will not know and neither will most adults either. So in fact it seems the people who write the GCSE Physics for the nation as the missed it out of all the specs.
Stars in fact create all the elements in the Universe and of course those which make up our bodies. So what do we teach about stars…. well we teach about life and death cycles but forget the major important thing.
So what am I saying? Well if you can please slip into your teaching some of the really important things which will still give us pupils who can think for themselves and be creative. Also make sure that every pupil who goes through your hands regardless of if the QCA tells you to teach it or not understands the idea of a lever!