The Physics Classroom as a Resource

This is my first year teaching physics, and I couldn’t do it without The Physics Classroom.

While I have a set of physics textbooks, I find TPC’s Physics Tutorials to be infinitely more helpful and easier to understand for both myself and my students because

  1. No one really wants to carry around a textbook.
  2. All of my students have school-provided laptops.
  3. Each concept is broken down in short, easy-to-read sections.

The fact this valuable resource is offered for free by a full time high school physics teacher is just incredible and invaluable to novice physics teachers like myself.

On top of that, TPC offers excellent worksheets and labs aligned with each lesson.  For only $20, you can receive a CD with the worksheets in Word format (for customization) and answer keys.


Integrating Quizlet in the Classroom

Perhaps one of the most useful tools I’ve used this year has been Quizlet.

Quizlet is a unique study tools that allows you to study sets of flashcards 6 different ways.  As a teacher, I can create a class with flashcard sets.

Students create a username and request to join my class.   They can use the sets, and  I can then monitor their usage of the flashcards.  For example, here is the study log for one of my students from their user page:

Each flashcard set offers several ways to study:

The main set page offers the “traditional” flash card experience.  Students see the term and definition, or if they uncheck the “Both Sides” box, they will see one first, then click to “flip” for the other.  Each card can be read to them and they can be done randomly or in order.

Speller reads the term aloud while displaying the definition.  Students correctly spell the term into a field.

Learn displays the definition (or click “Speak it!” to have it read) while students type the term into a field.

Test randomly generates fill in the blank, multiple choice, and true/false questions.

Scatter places terms and definitions randomly around the screen.  Dragging the correct term to the definition will cause both to disappear.  Students race against time to clear the screen.

Space Race scrolls definitions across the screen and the student must type in the term before it disappears.  If the student is unable to do so, the term pops up and the student must type it in to move on.

Students respond well to the audiovisuals and the easy-to-use study guides.  High scores for each study tool are displayed, which encourages those with a competitive edge.  I have found giving students time on Quizlet an excellent way to study and to fill those extra minutes when a lesson finishes more quickly than expected.