Thursday, 28 June 2012

AQA A2 Physics Days 1 & 2 - 26th and 29th June 2012

10 teachers attended each of the AQA A2 Physics CPD days at the KESH Academy Physics Factory, covering topics including Fields, Further Mechanics, Magnetism, Nuclear Physics, Thermal Physics and Astrophysics.

Electrostatics lesson for Bartley Green year 10s and their ‘non-specialist’ teacher

Enthusiastic Year 10 students from the local Bartley Green School visited the Physics Factory for a session on Electrostatics, which is part of their Physics GCSE P2 specification. They each had a go at charging balloons and ‘sticking’ them to uncharged surfaces, moving a stream of water using invisible electric fields, discovering how like and unlike charged objects repel and attract each other respectively and causing paper ‘dancers’ to jump up and down. The session ended with some Van Der Graaff demonstrations as fun for the pupils and CDP for their teacher (who, like many biology-specialists, was previously apprehensive about teaching the topic and using this high voltage equipment).

Primary Circuits day at Birmingham University

Year 5 pupils from three primary schools in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire spent the day at Birmingham University’s Physics department extending their knowledge and understanding of how electrical circuits work.

Following an introductory talk, each child took part in modelling how electrons move around circuits, demonstrating how energy is transferred to them by a battery/power source and transformed into light and heat energy at a light bulb. Pupils then constructed electrical circuits of their own with higher or lower resistance, measured their own resistance using a multimeter and learnt about the dangers of mains electricity and water. They made batteries out of lemons and were able to produce light with this, and investigated whether other fruit and potatoes made this happen too, the number of fruit/veg needed and so on.
The day ended with a tour of the campus and introduction to University life by University students.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

King Edward VI Five Ways Open Day

Once again the Physics Factory proved a popular destination for prospective KE Five Ways year 7 pupils and their parents. Among the highlights were interactive demonstrations, by younger Physics Factory Ambassadors from Five Ways school, of:

·         disappearing test tubes (showing the effect of similar refractive indices),

·         the pop-pop boat (Newton’s Third law of motion in action and the difference between speed and velocity),

·         melting and non-melting ice cubes on blocks of different materials at the same temperature,

·         popping a balloon with one nail is easier than with a dozen nails (illustrating pressure = force / area)

·         how to make a loudspeaker.

·         how to make a wine glass ring.

St Huberts Year 3 magnets workshop

On Wednesday June 26th 30 excited year 3 pupils from St Hubert’s CatholicPrimary school learnt all about magnetic forces.
We discussed what forces are, what are their effects? and different types of forces. Class volunteers demonstrated how a paperclip can hover in mid air held up by invisible forces, how compasses work and how the Earth’s magnetic field works. Every child then did three practicals to find out what materials are magnetic, to make a compass and to find the shape of the field around a bar magnet.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Rothschild summer networking meeting at the ThinkTank

This year Rothschild, the global financial services, decided to host their summer networking event for top people from their clients around the West Midlands, in support of the Physics Factory.

It was held at Birmingham’s science museum, the ThinkTank, surrounded by displays of technological innovations created or built in Birmingham from a spitfire built in Castle Bromwich to robots from Longbridge’s car industry.

John Collins, Secretary to the Governors at the King Edward VI schools in Birmingham, Alistair Allen, Director at Rothschild, Birmingham and Dan Cottle, Head of Physics at King Edward VI Five Ways school and Director of the Physics Factory gave speeches outlining the need for more Physics interventions and inspiration in Birmingham schools, how the Physics Factory addresses some of these needs and is a model of good practice in the area.

Our enormous thanks go to Rothschild for holding this event and raising profile of the Physics Factory.

Electricity and Lighthouses Year 2 workshop at St Hubert's primary school

We started with the excitement of burning about 25 model tudor houses, made from cardboard boxes as part of a history topic, in a re-enactment of the great fire of London in the school field.

The children then made a big ‘electrical’ circuit by holding hands in a class circle and lighting a cosmic ball, demonstrating complete circuits and the effect of a switch. This was followed by each child making simple electrical circuits with bulbs, different numbers of batteries in series and small motors. We then set up a working seascape and lighthouse model and talked about how lighthouses work. Finally the children learnt about what gives out light and what simply reflects it (like the moon) and the workshop finished with a question and answer session which ranged from discussion of power to whether our sun would turn into a wormhole.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Birmingham University PGCE students - what is the Physics Factory?

A fantastic morning, very engaging! Murcilla Mesleh.
Not only did I learn some better methods of pedagogy but could see so much value to the Physics Factory. Michelle Kelly.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Saturday, 2 June 2012

AQA GCSE P3 (new spec) Day 2 Training - Friday 15th June 2012

Excellent course, as always! Claire Garside, Cardinal Wiseman.

AQA GCSE P3 (new spec) Day 1 Training - Tuesday 12th June 2012

Hi Phil, Neil and Jenny,
Thanks again for today, as always I found it very stimulating and I never fail to find new things to bring back with me - I'm already trying to work out where to put a circuit on the floor in my lab and an EM Spectrum on the wall. Martin Casey, Head of Physics, Archbishop Ilsley, Birmingham.