It’s difficult to do well in a subject if you are not motivated to learn it. This is true for many students – they dislike Physics because to them, it is a boring subject that they do not find relevant to their life. One way to get around this is to find ways to make physics relevant to them.
Teachers and tutors need to make physics come to life by showing students how it impacts them. Starting from the simplest topics in physics, they will then be able to see the wonders of physics and how it governs every aspect of the physical world.
Here are some of the best topics to captivate the uninterested physics student:
Light is something we are all familiar with – but how do you define it? The study of light in physics seeks to explain the properties of light and examines how it behaves in different contexts. Students can have fun experimenting with light using magnifying glasses, prisms, mirrors, and pointer lasers. As it is something so prevalent and visible, students are sure to be able to relate to this topic. After a basic understanding is achieved, they can be further introduced to different kinds of light. The thought that invisible light rays are responsible for x-rays, microwaves, and radiowaves is sure to blow their minds.
Another topic that we encounter every day is motion and momentum. Most people start learning this with Newton’s laws of motions, but learning that off the textbook is a strong turn-off to students. Instead, begin with demonstrating using a toy car and some simple questions to get students exploring. For example, ask them ‘What happens when I put a block in front of the moving car? Why does that happen?’ When they can visualise the laws of motion for themselves, it is easier for them to remember the rules and formulae.
In the modern world, electricity is something we cannot live without. From lights to computers, everything requires electricity to run. Although we don’t usually see electricity (except in the form of lightning!), its effects can be demonstrated through simple circuits. Students will enjoy the hands-on opportunity to connect their own circuits and enjoy that light bulb moment – literally – when their circuit works. By emphasising the relevance of electricity to society, students will be more appreciative of learning about the technology behind it.
This is a huge topic in physics, but also because it hugely pervades our lives. From refrigeration to car engines, thermodynamics principles are at work everywhere. Rather than learning the laws rigidly, students should be introduced to thermodynamics through real-life examples they can instantly relate to. Although you cannot ‘see’ energy and heat, its effects are apparent through changes in temperature, changes in motion (when heat is converted into kinetic energy, for example), and more. Many phenomena that seem unusual at first can be explained with thermodynamics – it is like nature’s way of doing magic!
Physics will be daunting if students are not interested in it. However, physics is a fascinating subject that offers vast opportunities for hands-on learning, demonstrations, and real-life applications. An excellent physics class or physics tuition should aim to engage students using these interactive topics. If you need help to boost your interest in physics, you can start from enrolling in physics tuition for sec 3.