Reviewed by Thomas Brown
This terrific new book allows physics teachers to enrich their classes using simple, yet thoughtful, inquiry activities to reinforce key concepts. The book presents a variety of activities that can be used to strengthen students' critical-thinking skills. It also presents activities that can be used when studying motion, forces and energy, waves, sound and light, and electricity and magnetism.
A strong point of this book is that the activities can be adapted to any physical science classroom. In a thoughtful, well-documented introduction, the authors open the book by making their case for using these labs as out-of-class assignments. To make these labs easy to use, most of the activities require simple materials that are obtained with little difficulty and at a minimal of cost.
The book is designed to be used by any teacher, experienced or novice, and each activity includes a teacher and student section. The teacher section provides an overview of the activity as well as the answers from the student activity. The student section not only leads students through the activity but also provides essential safety information, which is important because these labs will be done outside of class. Each lab opens by posing a focusing question that helps students understand the goal of the activity. The procedures are well written and relatively simple to reproduce, making it trouble-free to implement the activities. One strength of the book is that each section provides numerous activities that can be used together or independently.
Simply put, this book would be superb resource for any physics teacher looking for opportunities to help students better understand some of the essential, yet more challenging, physics concepts. Additionally, by using these activities outside of class, teachers will not only enrich their curriculum but they may also free up valuable classroom time for more difficult concepts.
Review posted on 9/29/2009