Tag Archive for: A-Level Physics

Physics with Food

One of the things I love about physics is that you can find it everywhere.  And more importantly, the ideas that we teach at school can be easily demonstrated using everyday objects.

As part of an IOP day for teachers, I put together a series of demos and experiments that all used food.   They were chosen because they could be used to introduce or explore different physics topics.

We moved magnetic grapes, poured density cocktails and ate chocolate.

Layered drink

Density cocktail

More importantly (if there can be anything more important than eating chocolate) we also discussed how we would use the demos and experiments in class.  Although many of the demos fit well into one or other keystage, the teachers suggested different ways that they could be used.

I’ve put together the activity guides here: Food Sheets Combined (pdf)

We also looked at the Rethink Your Drink campaign from California Department of Public Health.  This links common soft drinks with the amount of sugar in the bottle or can.  It can be used in physics to introduce the idea of energy stored in foods and in PSHE to look at healthy diets.

ColaSugar

Comparing sweetener and sugar in diet and normal cola drinks

Tag Archive for: A-Level Physics

Milly Kelly

Case Study: Milly Kelly

Originally from Durham, Milly took a two week work experience placement with Think Physics to support her in finding out more about physics at university. Milly also volunteers at Kielder Observatory, one of our project partners, where she enjoys learning more about astronomy and helping other people learn more too. Her other hobbies include singing, playing the guitar, spending time with friends and –rather randomly – working as a ‘beater’ for the grouse shooting! She offers a key piece of safety advice for anyone interested in that line of work:

“Don’t get shot.”

A former student of Wolsingham 6th Form, Milly studied A levels in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, originally aiming towards a career in medicine. However as the courses progressed she started to study areas such as quantum physics, and physics became her favoured subject. Her studies have allowed Milly to develop skills including:

  • An understanding of physics and astrophysics
  • Physics has cemented Milly’s interests in astrophysics and volunteering, thus allowing Milly to indulge her passion further as well as meet new friends with similar interests
  • Develop investigation, analytical and questioning skills
  • Become a more accomplished researcher

In late 2015, Milly started a foundation degree in physics at Kent University. Having not studied Maths at A level she’s having to do this extra year, but she reports that she’s loving it, and the time is allowing her to explore the options available later in the course. She currently thinks she’ll focus on astrophysics and space science.

Inspirations

Milly reports her inspirations as:

  • A talk by Princeton University’s Professor Jenny Greene in 2014 at the Centre for Life, about stars, galaxies and black holes
  • Gary Fildes from Kielder; his talks and passion for astronomy are inspiring
  • Her mum, who has fully supported her desire to pursue physics (even more so after the talk by Greene)
  • Brian Cox and his ‘night with the stars’ series, which she watched with friends
  • Physics teacher Mr Coates, whose enthusiasm was infectious, super supportive and encouraging

Milly’s advice to others:

“Don’t pick a career, rather take subjects that open up pathways and keep your options open. Studying science has allowed me to consider a number of different options.”