View Full Version : Physics

04-12-2013, 11:13 AM
DS14 and I had a meeting yesterday about what he wants to do next year (10th grade). He told me he has no interest in taking biology (he had a good overview of it in 7th grade PS and the dead animals around the room really bothered him so he is totally turned off by it). He wants to do physics, instead. I really don't think he is ready for the math involved in physics so I was thinking of spreading it out over two years, and next year we will do an "Intro to Physics" kind of year. I was thinking of using Joy Hakim's Story of Science. I see from reading through old threads on here that a lot of people like it. Is it a good combination of science and history, or is it mostly history? He has always been interested in physics so it couldn't hurt to give him a good background knowledge of it before diving into the meat of it. If anyone has any suggestions for what to use as a physics lab I'd love to hear them!

04-12-2013, 11:38 AM
We're working our way through Quality Science Lab's AP Physics lab. Its the only thing we've spent serious money on, and its was totally worth it. There are lists of which lab to use with which section of different curriculum. I have a Physics degree, though, so we're not using a textbook - just videos, notes, and experiments.

04-12-2013, 12:31 PM
my high schooler is actually doing LOF physics atm. the LOF physics is middle school level, but there is plenty there he didnt know before. its not a full year.

we read the Hakim books when he was in 9th, and it was interesting, but more of a history i guess, with a lot of concepts. however, i hear that if you use the additional books - student and teacher guides or something - that it becomes more of a full curriculum. but i havent used them myself.

you could also look at plato and thinkwell

04-12-2013, 02:44 PM
I looked at the Quality Science Labs for Physics (though the price nearly made me do a spit take) and I was wondering if they were good. We're doing QS earth science this year and it is okay. Good to hear it is worth the price...I'll look into it further.

Cara - I forgot about LoF Physics! He hasn't done that one yet...it's a good idea. I'm thinking Plato or Thinkwell will be what we use after he has another year or two of math.

04-12-2013, 03:33 PM
WhatEverWorks- Can you tell me if the stuff in the QS Physics lab kit would be reusable for other children later on?

04-12-2013, 03:43 PM
I'm a former physics teacher and have also taught non-math and mathy physics to my two kids. (For what it's worth, my ds is dreading biology as he feels it's just too "yucky," which is why he started with physics, then chemistry, first.)

I've recommended using Paul Hewitt's Conceptual Physics for a low level math approach to physics. You can find editions of the book fairly inexpensively at places like Abe Books. It really goes into the "how" of why things do what they do. You can also find unused lab books. Some of the lab materials you have around the house; the rest I purchase at Home Science Tools (Home Science Tools | Microscopes, Chemistry Supplies, Biology Supplies (http://www.hometrainingtools.com/Default.asp?eid=SEM13071)) or borrow from a very nice public school science teacher friend of mine.

Another book I'd recommend, if he's a good reader, is How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life by Bloomfield. He just finished a course on Coursera https://class.coursera.org/howthingswork1-001/auth/welcome?type=logout&visiting=https%3A%2F%2Fclass.coursera.org%2Fhowthi ngswork1-001%2Fclass%2Findex of the same name that from what I hear was excellent. He covered the first 5 or 6 chapters of his book. I think plans are for him to continue.

If you live near a college campus, sometimes you can also borrow equipment from their science education departments. Worth looking into....

04-12-2013, 03:46 PM
WhatEverWorks- Can you tell me if the stuff in the QS Physics lab kit would be reusable for other children later on?

If you can't use the materials again, you can always sell it, just like textbooks.

04-12-2013, 03:55 PM
Thanks, Carol, I will definitely check out those books.

04-12-2013, 05:32 PM
WhatEverWorks- Can you tell me if the stuff in the QS Physics lab kit would be reusable for other children later on?

Yes, it is reusable. The few things you use up are cheap (<$10 total) to re-order on Amazon. We're using it this year as a conceptual Physics course. Next year, we'll redo the experiments, take more precise measurements and use it for practical Algebra applications. We debated based on the price, but I couldn't source the items for less individually. My son is super excited about the labs, so in that respect its been worth it.

04-12-2013, 05:42 PM
I wanted to add that my son had already shown an interest in mechanical and E&M Physics that the cheaper kits just wouldn't address. I don't know if we'd go this expensive route again for middle school for other sciences.

04-12-2013, 09:07 PM
If I can use it for more than one kid (or more than once for the same kid, like you are) then it makes it easier to spend the money. I don't forsee any other major purchases for next year (so far...).

Blair Lee
04-25-2013, 01:29 AM
We really liked Science Jim. He separates out the math so you can chose to do the math or not do it. There is a text with funny, geeky videos that go along with it. My son loved them, he is the one who called them funny geeky. It has a very nice pairing of theory with experiments and is totally secular. The experiments are not expensive at all to perform. The course is very reasonably priced. It is sold as a package through Currclick

04-25-2013, 08:58 AM
My 10 year old is doing LOF Physics and loving it. It is all completely new to her, but she is doing a great job with it.
The 12 year old finished the Udacity History of Physics course. It does involve a lot of Trig, but they walk you through it. He had finished Algebra I and II at the time.

04-25-2013, 12:36 PM
i ended up adding in some Khan Academy videos and ordered a used copy of cartoon guide to physics . . .

Cynthia Williford
05-03-2013, 12:12 AM
My not too mathy son is wanting to do physics next year. So, I'm considering the following:

PLATO Physics (Homeschool Curriculum and Affordable Homeschooling Programs - Homeschool Buyers Co-op (http://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org))

Professor Richard A. Muller. Physics for Future Presidents (Physics 10, 001 - Spring 2006 - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL095393D5B42B2266&feature=plcp)) -- The most interesting and important topics in physics, stressing conceptual understanding rather than math, with applications to current events (free)

Conceptual Physics by Hewitt (I paid $6 for this text used through AbeBooks Official Site - New & Used Books, Textbooks, & Rare Books (http://www.abebooks.com))
Hippocampus Physics (to use with Conceptual Physics) free) (HippoCampus - Homework and Study Help - Free help with your algebra, biology, environmental science, American government, US history, physics and religion homework (http://www.hippocampus.org))

Physics for the 21st Century -- a series of Video On Demand Lectures (Resource: Physics for the 21st Century (http://www.learner.org/resources/series213.html)) (free)

Chemistry and Physics (Georgia PBS) -- Chemistry & Physics (http://www.gpb.org/chemistry-physics) (free)

My son completed a brief summer study of physics last year by reading the Manga Guide to Physics by Hideo Nitta, reading real world applications of physics from The Flying Circus of Physics by Jearl Walker and by building a model rocket from recycled materials and completing a study of Newton's Laws and the forces which operate on a model rocket. This summer he wants to build a trebuchet and study projectiles before beginning a more formal physics study in the fall. I also have the Thames and Kosmos Physics kit for more fun, hands-on projects. My son is 12, and I thought he would enjoy the kit and that my 4 yr old daughter would enjoy peering over his shoulder. It may be too basic for older kids, though.

05-04-2013, 02:14 AM
I immediately thought of these two books as well. I was college physics professor and used these books. Paul Hewitt's Conceptual Physics
How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life by Bloomfield. Another one is the Cartoon Guide to Physics by Larry Gonick. I just ordered the Science Fusion Chemistry and Physics (they're called something else...forces and matter?) and will see what those are like next year.

05-07-2013, 02:34 PM
I ended up getting a copy of Hewitt's book at AbeBooks for $1 (even if we only use it for some things it is certainly worth it). I also ordered Hakim's books, will throw in LoF Physics and an Intro to Physics course on Udacity. This should give him a good base and if he wants more next year I'm looking at Kinetic Books - Kinetic Textbooks - Digital Algebra and Physics Curriculum (http://www.kineticbooks.com/)

I really appreciate all of the suggestions!

05-09-2013, 08:35 AM
There's a website written by a teacher who uses Conceptual Physics - she has lots of resources posted.
Here's a link:
Lisa Peck Conceptual Physics Website (http://w3.shorecrest.org/~Lisa_Peck/LPeck.html)

05-10-2013, 12:28 AM
Look at Thinkwell's Physics courses.

05-27-2013, 12:08 PM
Carol, can you give me a sense of what sort of labs are in this program?

Are they only in the extra practice books or are they part of the main text?

05-28-2013, 02:08 PM
Some of the labs are quite basic--measure density, calculate speed from distances and times, calculate specific heat using thermometers, metal samples, and water. Some require basic items, some require things that are costly for what might be one time use. Things like inclined planes you can make yourself. Mirrors and lenses and optics kits are relatively cheap. I managed to have my kids do on average a lab per chapter (almost 40 chapters, I think) when they used Hewitt's program. Even a lab that simulates radioactive half life uses pennies to simulate the situation. [Although we used M & M's instead...far more fun and tasty!!]

The lab manual is a separate book. I just did a quick check on Abebooks and they have some good/new copies around $10.