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Monthly Archives:

March 2012

Khatma Bibi Head of Science – Bartley Green School

The Physics Factory has been an amazing experience for the pupils of Bartley Green School.
The lack of a physics specialist in the department meant that we had to ensure that our Triple Science pupils received the best that an outside agency could provide. The Physics Factory has certainly lived up to its promise.
Our pupils have been visiting the Physics Factory every Thursday since September 2011 and every visit has been a real eye opener – Physics had suddenly become exciting!
The key to its success is the relaxed atmosphere in which the teaching takes place. There is time to explain difficult concepts and try new ideas. Pupils have the opportunity to take part in exciting practicals which have been the key to understanding challenging concepts in this subject area.
There are 20 pupils in the group, all at different academic levels. The Physics Factory has helped to stretch the most able and help those who need that extra help. Pupils feel comfortable with making mistakes and most importantly they learn from these mistakes.
As well as the practical element, pupils regularly complete mini tests at the end of each unit. This helps us to track pupil progress. The majority of the pupils have scored A/A* grades on the multiple choice tests, with no student scoring lower than a B grade.
The breakdown of the group is 17 boys and only 4 girls. A survey was completed at the start of the course and upon analysis not many pupils were very interested in Physics. However, this has dramatically changed with more than half the group wanting to study Physics at ‘A’ Level and some students have been inspired to want to study the subject further at university. In fact, two of our students recently met the Director of The Ogden Trust with a view to securing sponsorship to study Physics at university. Yet again the Physics Factory has raised the aspirations of my pupils!
It is obvious that the pupils have benefitted academically but there have been other improvements too. Attendance and punctuality have shown a marked improvement with pupils eager not to miss out on another exciting learning experience.
Finally, the Physics Factory would not be the success that it is without the inspirational teaching of Phil Jones. His relaxed and fun approach to Physics has been a joy to watch. As a teacher of Chemistry I have learnt a lot about how exciting Physics can be. Most importantly the ideas have been disseminated into my own department.
Thank you Phil!

Emma Hawkey Senior Technician – International School

Hi Phil

Just to say thanks for a great day on Wednesday.
The best courses I have been on in my career so far were at the National Science Learning Centre up in York. However, your day was easily as good as that. I came away with lots of different practical ideas, as well as twists on the standard practical’s to make them more interesting for students. If you can send me away more enthusiastic about physics, it must work on everyone!!

Best Wishes

Queensbridge EDEXCEL P3 Gases Revision – Wednesday 28th March 2012

Queensbridge’s Year 11 triple science group visited the Physics Factory today to learn about gases for their EDEXCEL P3 exam. The students demonstrated lots of enthusiasm and ability throughout the lesson and were a pleasure to teach. Many thanks to their hard working teachers for helping to make the day a success.

Science and Engineering week activities at the Physics Factory, Birmingham

Several primary and secondary school classes visited the Physics Factory on Friday 15th March to learn about Forces, Motion and Rockets.

In one-and-a half hour sessions, the pupils took part in hands-on forces demos with a hammer & tin, a falling egg, deforming a sponge ball, a magnet and paper clip, a hovering ball, floating and sinking, bed springs and more. Every child investigated balanced and unbalanced forces using a helium balloon with plasticine weights, and how forces can change the shape, speed and direction of motion of a paper ball.
Using a hover board and a big push off, the pupils experienced for themselves moving at a constant velocity when no external forces were acting on them (Newton’s First law). Finally we finished each session with action and reaction demos, including the putt-putt boats and a highly competitive rocket balloon race.
Feedback from teachers was that they and the pupils enjoyed all aspects of the sessions and the only thing cited that could have been improved was more time to enjoy more Physics Factory teaching.
‘Pupils loved it – engaged, enjoyed and learned lots of new information’ Year 7 Teacher.

Catholic Partnership Training Day – KS3 Forces & Motion – Wednesday 21st March 2012

Absolutely amazing day! Never mind the kids, I am engaged! Vicky Hampshire, St Thomas Aquinas.

National Space Centre/Physics Factory Space Master Class – Lordswood Girls (Yr11) – Monday 19th March 2012

Anu reveals his lab made comet!

National Space Centre/Physics Factory Space Master Class – Lordswood Girls (Yr10) – Monday 19th March 2012

Anu shows students how to make a comet.

National Science and Engineering Week – KESH Academy Physics Factory

The Physics Factory at KESH Academy has been getting involved in NSEW events in school and out. On Monday evening KESH’s Science Club used the Hovercraft with 56 students who floated down the Science corridor, Tuesday evening saw KESH’s Dr. Essex make Ice Cream for 84 students using liquid nitrogen and Wednesday saw Jon Wood (@JonWoodScience) work with year 10 and 11 students in the Physics Factory teaching them the history of electricity in medicine. Jon demonstrated an Electroencephalogram (EEG) on students, scanning their brain waves!

Abdul looking nervous before his brain scan!

KEFW Science and Engineering lessons – Wednesday 14th March 2012

Seventy-five children from St Michaels, Woodgate and Kitwell primary schools joined us for three action-packed lessons on forces and movement. Particular favourites included the putt-putt boats, the balanced-forces Helium balloons and the hovercraft. Learning included Newton’s three laws, that the unit of force was named after Newton and loads more. The teachers said they were going to do a number of the practicals themselves, such as the balancing paperclip, the rocket balloon demo and more. One teacher’s feedback – ‘Fantastic – All the children intrigued and wanting to learn more’.

Lordswood Boys Year 12 AQA ISA – Tuesday 13th March 2012

’The style of teaching helped me concentrate (as I usually don’t concentrate constantly). It has helped me understand a lot more about the ISA. To be honest I would not have got higher than a C without today’s help.’ A pupil comment

‘The helpful attitude and subject knowledge from the Physics Factory staff was incredible. Also the relaxed atmosphere allowed me to concentrate thoroughly’ Another pupil.

‘Hope to come again!’ A third pupil

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