HOT TOPIC: Physics
Volume 1, Issue 28 - April 3, 2005

"In all my years of education, nothing eluded my grasp more than the hard sciences. Whereas I flew through anything to do with the language arts and social sciences, those disciplines requiring extensive math and abstract theoretical concepts were my yearly challenge in school. Having a father who was a Ph.D chemist and the head of research and development for Dow Chemical didn't make this fact any easier to live with. Whereas elementary science seemed manageable, as I headed into middle school and beyond, the topics covered in the required sciences (I promise you I wasn't taking science as an elective) became ever more difficult.

There were those years where I seemed to get over the hump. Biology was one such subject. There the material was concrete and the taxonomies made sense to me. I could memorize anything from Shakespeare to Linnaeus, so I did well. But then came chemistry and then physics. These classes were just another excuse to teach Math as far as I was concerned. And it wasn't that I wasn't a good student. I would regularly stay after and ask each teacher for help, but they found it difficult to explain the concepts behind the various formulae to someone like me; someone who just didn't get it.

The most frustrating part to me was, even when I had nailed down the proper formula or the right equation as a process, it never made sense to me when I was supposed to use these tools in problem solving. I had no point of reference in my own experience in which to ground myself and make the connections I needed to make in order to understand the real world application behind the science.

This is all easy for me to say now. Now that I know I am highly visual and existential, that I need to be able to make sense of abstract concepts in real world terms before I can internalize and apply them. And so I offer this week's collection of physics resources for all the students out there who, like me, do not have an abstract or logical approach to the world. Through these pages I hope you will find resources that will help you to help the Walters in your science classrooms. Because in hindsight, I could have understood more and excelled in these classes. I just needed help making the connections to my own experience ….."


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