Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Move Physics Demonstrations From the Lecture Hall Into the Lab!

Some blog followers might be interested in a recent discussion-list post “Move Physics Demonstrations From the Lecture Hall Into the Lab!” [Hake (2012)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: In response to my post “Should the History of Science Be Rated X” at, PERTG’s Lynda Williams wrote (paraphrasing): “Drop a book and page of paper side by side: the book hits the floor first. Aristotle was right! Then wad up the paper and repeat the experiment: the book and paper hit the floor at the same time. Newton is right! This is one of the best physics demos."

It would be even better if brought into the lab for students to perform as in Section X, “Motion of Falling Bodies” in Socratic Dialogue Inducing Lab #2 [Hake (1998c)], at

To access the complete 21 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles:
Links to SDI Labs:

"I am deeply convinced that a statistically significant improvement would occur if more of us learned to listen to our students.. . . . . .By listening to what they say in answer to carefully phrased, leading questions, we can begin to understand what does and does not happen in their minds, anticipate the hurdles they encounter, and provide the kind of help needed to master a concept or line of reasoning without simply 'telling them the answer.'....Nothing is more ineffectually arrogant than the widely found teacher attitude that 'all you have to do is say it my way, and no one within hearing can fail to understand it.'.. . . . . .Were more of us willing to relearn our physics by the dialog and listening process I have described, we would see a discontinuous upward shift in the quality of physics teaching. I am satisfied that this is fully within the competence of our colleagues; the question is one of humility and desire."
- Arnold Arons (1974)

REFERENCES [All URL's shortened by and accessed on 18 July 2012.]
Arons, A. 1974. "Addendum to 'Toward Wider Public Understanding of Science', " Am. J. Phys. 42(2): 157; online to subscribers at

Hake, R.R. 2012. “Move Physics Demonstrations From the Lecture Hall Into the Lab!” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 18 Jul 2012 22:38:42-0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists.

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