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Physics in Everyday Life
2003 Volume IV


Many of our experiences in daily life are with physics. The light and colors we see, the sounds we hear, the bridges and structures we traverse, and the multitude of electronic devices we (sometimes) love all derive from physics.

This seminar has explored the physics of everyday life, and connections to other subject areas. The physics topics are diverse-- ranging from the Wright Brothers' first flight to sound and hearing, to advertising of simple machines. Other topics include cell phones, mechanical machines, physics in the 24 hours day, and light. The connections to other subject areas are also very diverse. The experience of a Chinese immigrant kite-maker is explored in the context of the first powered flight. Light (luz) is seen in poetry, accessible to bilingual students. And hearing is explored with the assistance of a student who experiences real hearing impairment.

The units are both fun and instructive, and serve students from first grade through high school. They emphasize inquiry-based learning of science, using fun experiments to engage the students' interest. The units in this seminar meet educational standards that range well beyond traditional boundaries of physics, into literature and social studies. Significant material is also drawn from the World Wide Web, to supplement even further the development of rich classroom experiences of science.

Daniel E. Prober

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