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Let Your Grade 12 Students Leave High School Thinking Modern Physics is Fun…

Sandy Evans, Northview Heights Secondary School

I used to have our Grade 12 Physics students write a research paper on a Modern Physics topic; however this year I decided to let them do something more creative. They ended up really having fun with the assignment and it was A LOT more fun to mark than 50 essays. They were told about this assignment and their Rube Goldberg Build assignment at the beginning of the semester but the Modern Physics Creative Piece was not due until one week before exams.

They had to select a Modern Physics topic and create an entertaining method/platform to convey certain information. The method could be a storybook, a rap song, a poem, an entertaining short video, or any creative platform that they thought would be entertaining. They were told that PowerPoints are not an entertaining platform. They were given a list of possible topics although they were allowed to choose their own topic with approval from the teacher. Some of the possible topics were: superconductivity, quantum computing, quantum entanglement, uncertainty principle, dark matter, multiverses, time travel, and general relativity.

The rubric rated them on;
  • Creativity
  • Information and Simplicity (non-physics person could understand the basics of the technology from the platform)
  • Applications of the Technology (present/potential future)
  • Possible Obstacles
  • Quality (which included APA listed references)

I did not have everyone present their platform out loud to the class since I remember way back in my day when teachers used to make us sit through full classes of presentations and by the third presentation I was ready to escape. However, for some of the most entertaining ones I asked the student if they would mind if we shared it. We ended up sharing about 2-3 in each class and we had a fantastic time watching them! Some of the rap songs were hilarious. The students said they really enjoyed the assignment.

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