Alzar School | 03.10.13

Physics class is back in full swing and has been studying the heart of the subject…FORCES.

This topic in physics is one of my favorites to teach because it challenges students understanding of the world and thrusts their minds into new directions of understanding.

When Isaac Newton developed his three laws of motion he was clever. He used his imagination to explain why and how things moved in structured idealized ways. For example, his first law.

An object in motion will tend to say in motion, or an object at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted on by another force. Motion in our world always (…almost always) has resistive forces acting all the time. And be thankful for this. Rarely on earth does something in motion, keep truckin down the road. This phenomena happens in space, but Newton never went to space.

His elegant laws challenge students to consider and reflect on how the world really works. Students must break down their misconceptions. Practicing physics is essentially a mental construct of understanding what happens around us.

In class we use all kinds of scenarios to exemplify this. We use hanging stop lights, and calculate the tension in their lines. We also use and imagine frictionless inclined planes to measure accelerations and forces.

Dan and Isaac created a problem where an adjustable  inclined plane had a particular static coefficient, and they calculated what the critical angle would be to get the block moving.

Dan and Isaac work an adjustable inclined plane problem.
Dan and Isaac work an adjustable inclined plane problem.

What’s the application or point? Perhaps, engineering, construction, medicine, leadership…The real application is exercising your brain in a different way to build skills for the future. Alzar students will experience real world problems and they will need to use their physics skills, math skills, english/spanish skills, history skills, and leadership skills to propose solutions making this world better.

-Sam Goff