Video killed the radio star??

Thursday, April 7th, 2016 | EMILY HALL | No Comments

flatscreenThe other day, looking for a quick video on the Science of Sport to show a Physics class as a little starter, I went to the Veritasium website to look for some inspiration. I found these two videos which I think have been posted before but are definitely worth a re visit for Science Teachers.

This is going to REVOLUTIONIZE education! 

Effectiveness of Science Videos 

Just as an aside, I ended up going with this video: Bungy Jumping What I did was show the video to the students as a starter. They watched, I paused it when you need to select an answer. No one was keen to volunteer their answer to the question so I just un paused the video and let it finish. What they didn’t know was that no answer is actually given in the video! So, when the video was over, they HAD to discuss and work it out and talk with each other because they really really wanted to know the answer. SO we ended up having a great discussion on forces in the fall, what is that rope actually doing, we talked about transfer of energy and all kinds of good stuff. I’m definitely going to check out some of the other little starter videos and try and sneak one in again 🙂



Let there be light!!!

Monday, June 15th, 2015 | EMILY HALL | 1 Comment

Here are a couple of links to some events in honour of 2015, International Year of Light. There is a photo competition and a Year of Light expo suitable for all ages. These are being run by students from the Physics department including OUASSA alumni! Great to see alumni getting into science!!

Cool resource for Physics and Chemistry

Monday, March 31st, 2014 | EMILY HALL | Comments Off on Cool resource for Physics and Chemistry

websiteI ran across this website a couple of years ago but for some reason didn’t use it at all.

On the site is a complete course in Chemistry and a complete course in Physics for high school level in Georgia, USA. They consist of a series of videos, one on each topic listed with note taking guides and study guides. The videos are only about half an hour long and come with a problem set based on the video.

I am going to trial one of these in class today and also show the girls the link in the hopes that they might use the videos at home for their own revision. I was thinking too it might be a good activity for them if I am away so they can still move forward with their learning even when I am not there. We have a set of netbooks they can use and watch the material on their own if the reliever doesn’t have a laptop to show the whole class at once.

Fight Like a Physicist

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013 | EMILY HALL | No Comments

I have spent much of my spare time of late preparing for a presentation at the New Zealand Institute of Physics biennial conference coming up later this week. The presentation that I am giving is called “Fight Like a Physicist” and will detail a project that I am working on about learning mechanics through karate.

All this karate mechanics made me think. I know that all sports have huge amounts of Physics in them – but have you really stopped to think about what the Physics applications are in your favourite sports. You can start with the Level 1 basics like conservation of Energy and Newton’s Laws of motion and move all the way up through the mechanics curriculum to the level 3 concepts of rotational motion. As well, depending on the sport, there are all kinds of other fun Physics concepts to be unearthed.

So go out and find out what is the Physics behind your favourite sport. I have listed some cool websites to help you search!

The Science Learning Hub: Sporting Edge

The Science Learning Hub: Cycling


And finally some good resources on the Physics of Karate!

KarateChop – Physics– the physics of breaking boards

KinematicsAnalysisofTechniquesHSScience: A program in Italy where a physics teacher and karate teacher work together to provide workshops for students of mechanics.

scientificamerican0479-150: I really like this article not just for its karate content but it is 34 years old and I found the techniques they used to analyse without the equipment we have available currently really cool!!

Fun Friday Films!!

Friday, April 19th, 2013 | EMILY HALL | No Comments

The school holidays are upon us and while you students are busy with work, fun and hopefully some study, I’m sure there’ll be times when you think to yourself “boy, I could sure do with a serving of Science right now!”. Well you are in luck because someone recently suggested one of these 3 minute films to me and I found myself watching more and more of them. And for teachers, I showed a couple to my class yesterday at the end of the period and they really enjoyed it. They are interesting little snippets that can serve as a good starting point for discussion and only 3 minutes long so not a huge investment of time. is the website
This one appealed to the students as it is about a 14 year old boy who makes a breakthrough in cancer testing.
My 10 year old son was particularly fascinated with this one: where they talk about a new way to “pave” the road with solar cells!

Anyway I’ve managed to watch maybe 1/2 dozen of the films on here and haven’t yet found one that I didn’t think was cool on some level.

Another film site that I’ve been sent at least 3 times in the last little while is one by astronaut Chris Hadfield on the ISS.
He has videos on all kinds of things from making a sandwich in space, to sleeping in space, toothbrushing in space to wringing out a washcloth in space!! Again cool Science of everyday objects and good starting point for discussion! I really hate flying but Chris Hadfield makes me want to be an astronaut it looks like the most amazing “job” ever!!

Have a happy safe holiday to all the students and teachers!!

Phun Physics Phriday resource…

Friday, April 5th, 2013 | EMILY HALL | No Comments

Quickie post to share this resource from IOP. Every day this term I have been writing on the whiteboard in my classroom a “Tody in Physics” that I found from the IOP website. ( The students enjoy seeing what has happened “on this day” and the couple of times I haven’t gotten around to updating it they complain!! We’ve also had some good discussion come from them asking questions about what exactly the discovery means or who that person is or why would anyone want to know that? 🙂

If you have some time – make sure you take a look at the rest of the IOP website – there is a lot of good stuff there about teaching/promoting Physics.

Hope the short week was good to you!


Friday – Fall Further down the rabbit hole…

Friday, February 22nd, 2013 | EMILY HALL | No Comments

I ran across these little Physics related videos the other day. Each one is only about a minute long so a nice little break. They are also aimed at presenting ideas rather than answering questions so could be a good way to stimulate a discussion or a starting point for more research. Cute and accessible for many year levels. Access the videos here.

Have an explore of the site while you are there – they have some other resources online mostly related to quantum physics. I also liked this one which explains some “big ideas” in an accessible way.

Have a great weekend!


Secret Messages and a Side Track down Equation Lane

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 | EMILY HALL | No Comments

I was reading an issue of New Scientist at the airport the other day and there was quite a cool article in it about quantum entanglement and a possible link to cryptography. You can read the whole article here, if you would like. I was going to write a blog post on that and include another article I found today that is relevant to the topic (click here to see it)
I got side tracked on the New Scientist website watching this short video – its a pretty cool little three minute study break if you’re looking for something short to watch.
New Scientist Equation Video
So good luck with exam study, make sure you rest, eat well and exercise as well as study and we can think about quantum entanglement another time!
PS – Just had to put in a plug for Otago University Physics Department. My Year 13 Physics class went on a tour on Monday of the University labs. We had a really interesting talk about temperature and what it all means followed by a tour of the laser lab where they were cooling things down into the single digit Kelvin scale. We then got to experience the relative heat of the cold labs where the temperature is down to the negative Celsius scale. We looked at super cool liquids and some properties of ice as well as hearing about all kinds of research going on at Otago. All in all a really cool trip so if you get the opportunity to go have a look I would highly recommend it.

Seven Equations that Changed the World

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 | STEPHEN BRONI | No Comments

Having trouble  seeing the relevance of all those formulae  in maths?

“THE alarm rings. You glance at the clock. The time is 6.30 am. You haven’t even got out of bed, and already at least six mathematical equations have influenced your life. The memory chip that stores the time in your clock couldn’t have been devised without a key equation in quantum mechanics. Its time was set by a radio signal that we would never have dreamed of inventing were it not for James Clerk Maxwell’s four equations of electromagnetism. And the signal itself travels according to what is known as the wave equation.

We are afloat on a hidden ocean of equations. They are at work in transport, the financial system, health and crime prevention and detection, communications, food, water, heating and lighting. Step into the shower and you benefit from equations used to regulate the water supply. Your breakfast cereal comes from crops that were bred with the help of statistical equations. Drive to work and your car’s aerodynamic design is in part down to the Navier-Stokes equations that describe how air flows over and around it. Switching on its satnav involves quantum physics again, plus Newton’s laws of motion and gravity, which helped launch the geopositioning satellites and set their orbits. It also uses random number generator equations for timing signals, trigonometric equations to compute location, and special and general relativity for precise tracking of the satellites’ motion under the Earth’s gravity.

Without equations, most of our technology would never have been invented. Of course, important inventions such as fire and the wheel came about without any mathematical knowledge. Yet without equations we would be stuck in a medieval world.

Equations reach far beyond technology too. Without them, we would have no understanding of the physics that governs the tides, waves breaking on the beach, the ever-changing weather, the movements of the planets, the nuclear furnaces of the stars, the spirals of galaxies – the vastness of the universe and our place within it.

There are thousands of important equations. The seven I focus on here – the wave equation, Maxwell’s four equations, the Fourier transform and Schrödinger’s equation – illustrate how empirical observations have led to equations that we use both in science and in everyday life”.


Read  more here.

There is a cool  video clip to watch too!


Monday, May 23rd, 2011 | KEV KNOWLES | No Comments

This achievement standard involves knowledge and understanding of phenomena, concepts, principles and/or relationships related to translational; circular and rotational; and simple harmonic motion; and the use of appropriate methods to solve related problems.

Translational Motion

  • Centre of mass (1 and 2 dimensions)
  • conservation of momentum and impulse (2 dimensions only)

Circular and Rotational Motion

  • Velocity and acceleration of, and resultant force on, objects moving in a circle under the influence of 2 or more forces, eg banked corners, vertical circles
  • Newton’s Law of gravitation
  • satellite motion
  • Rotational motion with constant angular speed and with constant angular acceleration
  • torque
  • rotational inertia
  • angular momentum
  • rotational kinetic energy
  • conservation of angular momentum
  • conservation of energy

Simple Harmonic Motion (SHM)

  • Displacement; velocity; acceleration
  • time and frequency of a particle undergoing SHM
  • forced SHM
  • resonance
  • the reference circle
  • phasors
  • conservation of energy.

Atomic Physics

Monday, May 23rd, 2011 | KEV KNOWLES | No Comments

This achievement standard involves knowledge and understanding of phenomena, concepts, principles and/or relationships related to atoms, photons and nuclei, and the use of appropriate methods to solve related problems.

  • The Bohr model of the hydrogen atom
  • the photon; the quantisation of energy
  • discrete atomic energy levels; electron transition between energy levels; ionisation; atomic line spectra (infrared, visible and ultraviolet)
  • the photoelectric effect; the electron volt
  • description of the particle/wave duality of light
  • nuclear binding energy and mass deficit; conservation of mass-energy for nuclear reactions.


Monday, May 23rd, 2011 | KEV KNOWLES | No Comments

This achievement standard involves knowledge and understanding of phenomena, concepts, principles and/or relationships related to wave systems, and the use of appropriate methods to solve related problems.

  • Interference (quantitative) of electromagnetic and sound waves
  • multi-slit interference and diffraction gratings
  • standing waves in strings and pipes
  • harmonics and overtones
  • resonance
  • beats
  • Doppler Effect (stationary observer).


Monday, May 23rd, 2011 | KEV KNOWLES | No Comments

This achievement standard involves knowledge and understanding of phenomena, concepts, principles and/or relationships related to direct current (DC) circuits, capacitance, electromagnetic induction, alternating current (AC) circuits, and the use of appropriate methods to solve related problems.

DC Circuits and Capacitance

  • Internal resistance; simple application of Kirchhoff’s Laws
  • parallel plate capacitor; capacitance; dielectrics; series and parallel capacitors; charge/discharge characteristics of capacitors in DC RC circuits; voltage/time and current/time graphs for a capacitor; time constant; energy stored in a capacitor.

Electromagnetic Induction and AC Circuits

  • Magnetic flux; magnetic flux density; Faraday’s Law; Lenz’s Law; voltage/time and current/time graphs for an inductor; time constant; self inductance; the inductor; energy stored in an inductor
  • mutual inductance; the transformer
  • the comparison of the energy dissipation in a resistor carrying direct current and alternating current; peak and rms voltage and current; phase
  • phasors in AC; reactance and impedance and their frequency dependence in a series circuit; voltage and current and their phase relationship in LR and CR series circuits; resonance in LCR circuits.