Hands-on physics seems daunting when done remotely, but it isn’t impossible—one teacher shares his experiences

When our school closed in the spring, my physics class still had two units left to cover for the school year – waves and electricity. I immediately thought about how I was going to teach remotely when a lot of the lessons are experiments and hands-on activities. I started brainstorming and collaborating with my peers and fellow teachers about ways to successfully teach hands-on physics remotely.

Our school was already using a learning management platform for quizzes, tests, and homework assignments, so we had a good starting point as we shifted to remote learning, yet there were still many lessons to learn.

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Ultimately, from my experience with remote teaching in the spring, there are two things I will be sure to focus on going into the new school year – using helpful technology tools to drive student engagement and keeping as much of a routine as possible during remote learning.

Tools for teaching science remotely

One of the first things I prioritized was getting the right tools to set up my remote classroom. I knew I would not be able to engage students in scientific discovery and hands-on physics with just my laptop. I wanted to find a way to be able to stay on track with the lessons scheduled and also include the same experiments to ensure students were still getting a full understanding of the content. By showing students the experiments via an Epson document camera, they are able to see the experiment in real time.

When our school closed in the spring, my physics class still had two units left to cover for the school year – waves and electricity. I immediately thought about how I was going to teach remotely when a lot of the lessons are experiments and hands-on activities. I started brainstorming and collaborating with my peers and fellow teachers about ways to successfully teach hands-on physics remotely.

Our school was already using a learning management platform for quizzes, tests, and homework assignments, so we had a good starting point as we shifted to remote learning, yet there were still many lessons to learn. Ultimately, from my experience with remote teaching in the spring, there are two things I will be sure to focus on going into the new school year – using helpful technology tools to drive student engagement and keeping as much of a routine as possible during remote learning.

Tools for teaching science remotely

One of the first things I prioritized was getting the right tools to set up my remote classroom. I knew I would not be able to engage students in scientific discovery and hands-on physics with just my laptop. I wanted to find a way to be able to stay on track with the lessons scheduled and also include the same experiments to ensure students were still getting a full understanding of the content. By showing students the experiments via an Epson document camera, they are able to see the experiment in real time.

The ease of use of the technology has helped me feel like I am actively connecting with my students. I can easily toggle back and forth between screens as I am teaching and show close up, clear images of whatever I need to show to the class.

At first, building circuits seemed like a pretty impossible lesson to teach remotely. This is just one of the many hands-on physics demonstrations where it becomes very useful to have a document camera to show close ups of the wires or other important parts of the circuit. I set up a small whiteboard flat on the table and place the circuit on it to help make the wires even more visible. I can also draw the directions showing which way the flow is going on the whiteboard, and students can all see it during our remote classes. Students are able to still see every little detail and focus on the certain concepts I’m teaching.

Keeping a routine

Normally, as students would walk into the class and settle in, the first thing they would see was the agenda for the day up on the board. To help keep some routine in the class, I would write the agenda on my mini whiteboard, place it under the document camera, and have it displayed for when students joined the Zoom class meeting. It was important for me to find different ways to keep parts of students’ routines from when they were in the classroom in their remote schedules.
source: Read More, eSchool News

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