Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Crazy thinking.... Adventures into Physics.

Today I have decided to be a bit crazy.... the first thing Oliver asked me when he got up was - can he do some maths today?, as he asked me that question, I remembered when we where at the Big Bang Fair, he asked - how do scientists use maths?, how do they use maths in Science?,  it was a very good question that I could not answer at the time due to the complexity of the question.

I was thinking about this question all weekend, how can I demonstrate in a way he will understand, how scientists use maths, how maths is used in our everyday without us even realising that maths is somewhere behind it, beyond what they already know about the basics such as shapes in our world and lengths and distances, weights etc, his question is more specific as to how do they incorporate maths to come up with say a robot, how do they use maths to create something like that.

When he asked the question this morning I thought, what is the best way to explain and give him his answer (which he always expects) in a way that he understands, and as I don't quite understand it all myself I thought we could do a bit of learning together, and as he is the type of child that constantly asks questions I thought there is no better way than demonstrating by learning about the specific topic of Physics.

The twins are familiar with the usual topics of push and pull, materials, forces and movement  and solids liquids and gasses etc but those on their own do not explain what he is actually doing in terms of relating it to Physics, he knows it as just basic science experiments with no relation to why or what he is doing.

I thought I would be a bit crazy and combine his new love of maths with his passion for science and break them down for him into subject matter, he is obviously at that stage where he has not knitted things together, he is doing, but not understanding what and why he is doing, as all the things we have done with science all incorporate maths in some way, but he clearly does not see how an end product of making a Robot or understanding the solar system or how a car travels incorporates maths.

As I know nothing about Physics as it was a subject I was not introduced to at school or encouraged in any way to get interested in, I cannot really help him understand what Physics is, so the best remedy for that is to learn together.

Learning together is great for us, it gives the kids a great boost knowing they are learning something alongside mum, it's a killer for me because I can't use the term, 'mum knows everything' very effectively these days, as whenever I do they rightly turn round and correct me and say 'no you don't'...

I had trouble knowing where to start so I decided to find a course that introduces Physics, the bad thing is obviously there are only GCSE level things out there, the only other thing is the usual broken down into materials and push and pull basic experiment type stuff that we have already done and they already understand, there isn't much for their age range for the depth that we require so we are going to have to improvise and bend what we find to fit their understanding.

I found this great course that started on 20th Basic Physics (Physics)S by Dr. Wayne Rowlands on the Open To Study website which is great for free courses.

This course is great as it is video based, which is good for all of us as that is the way we learn best by seeing and being able to rewind. I was very surprised and underestimated Olivia as she seemed more keen than Oliver, she was getting stuck into drawing a Vector Graph and working out a few final velocity calculations.

We rewound and rewound again and the kids asked questions and copied what they saw on screen practising some writing skills and doing some maths calculations, I was extremely surprised at their focus on the subject and they where both very keen and I had to stop them at the vector quantity on the second video, as I need time to sink the information in so I am sure they will too.

Olivia was taking quite a lot of notes in her book so I thought I would introduce some note taking techniques into my notes for her to see so she could mimic how I do my notes, I have to do these things very covertly so they do not realise my sly tactics of helping them learn without showing them directly, as they are both very independent and hate to be shown anything.

Of course our session was not just all about Physics, along with some basic maths, addition working out velocity and drawing a graph, we worked on English and how to use a dictionary, I got the dictionary out and pretended to not know a few words and I had to look them up, but needed help from the twins to find what I was looking for, needing their help with tasks is a great way to get them doing things without asking them to do something, I find it very effective. along with the note taking methods I slyly introduced, lots of things where covered in a very short space of time.

Olivia has asked for some Vector worksheets to practice working out addition and subtraction as she enjoyed working out the question given after the first video, so I will take some real life examples over the next few days and test them out a few times. We have a trip to make to the auction house tomorrow so we can work out our trip there and back and watch some of the lifting trucks and do some calculations on those. It should be fun....

I thought initially that I was bit crazy even thinking of adventuring into this but actually it is fantastic and exciting for all of us, take it slow and work it round all our understanding we should be well on our way to understanding a bit about Physics and Oliver should in the end get the answer he needs to explain why and how Maths is used in Science........ 

For the rest of the day it's painting Easter pictures....and me trying to come up with ideas to make Physics easy for all of us to understand..

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