You Dread Teaching This Topic….

Particle Physics

I wasn’t a fan.

There is fantastic interest in this topic: the Large Hadron Collider; the search for the Higgs Boson and the fascination with the Big Bang. This topic should capture your students and inspire them beyond the scope of their imagination. However, my lessons always seemed a bit flat and I found the topic to be reliant on rote-learning.

It looks like many physics teachers agree with me, as 15% of physics teachers have cited Particle Physics as their most dreaded topic.

Slightly Related Aside

I took a school trip of sixth-formers to CERN and spent three days wandering around the exhibitions. It was brilliant and highly recommended BUT I laid awake in that cavernous youth hostel in Geneva, listening to (what seemed like) thousands of other school trips doing the same. This who have taken a school trip to CERN will know exactly the youth hostel I am talking about! The reverberation of sound in that place is unmatched. I was exhausted.

The only thing that kept me sane was this super cool t-shirt!!!

cerntshirt

cerntshirtman

A New Class of Particles

I wrote the Guzled Particle resources last month. Like all the resources on the site, I wanted them to:

  • Appeal to visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners;
  • Have a strong practical element;
  • Inspire students and teachers;
  • Include relevance to the outside world.

It took me a while to write them and to get them tested by a class, but they are now done.

I’m not sure if you could class the Starter Activity of “Quark Cupcakes” as a practical, but it’s the best I could do….!

Life as teacher is not always easy. So if I can find out what parts of the job people dread – it makes sense to make that better for themSally Weatherly

Do you have any great ideas for teaching Particle Physics?
Share them in the comments below.

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About the Author

Sally

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Sally is the Guzled founder and, more importantly, a part-time physics teacher at Mary Erskine School in Edinburgh. She led a large and vibrant department for 7 years, after training to teach in London. She is a Trustee for Dynamic Earth, an IoP Teacher Network Co-ordinator, a Practical Advisor for AQA and guest lecturer for Stirling University.