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Physikalisches Spielzeug & Freihandversuche

Learning mechanics with toys

Schlichting, H. Joachim. In: P.L. Lijnse (Ed.): The many faces of teaching and learning mechanics; (Proceedings of the GIREP Conference on Physics Education 1984), S. 432, Utrecht (1985).

One severe problem of teaching physics, especially mechanics, is the difficulty in stimulating pupils to investigate and understand objects of everyday life from a physical standpoint, i.e. differently than they are accustumed to doing. Since these objects do not carry, in any simple way, a physical aspect in themselves, the physical consideration of them largely requires one „to describe the world in a way that we do not experience it“.  This problem does not fully appear if physics is applied to the artificial world of physical apparatus and materials which have only been prepared to
demonstrate one or at best several physical principles. Normally, this is the case in German schools. Since this world of apparatus scarcely has any connections with the everyday world of the pupils one cannot expect students were able to apply physical principles to it. However, this should be one of the main objectives of physical education, unless physics is to be simply an end in itself.

PDF: Learning mechanics with toys

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