I specifically love physical sciences (physics and chemistry)because it has a mathematical basis that creates the foundation for the other natural sciences.I love the mathematical nature of it.The universe is complex and yet we have figured out ways to measure and attach numbers to the actions going on around us.A number can be given for a velocity, an electric field, or an angle of refraction.These numbers are like a piece of a puzzle.Scientists from the past have discovered how these pieces fit together.
My pleasure in teaching physical sciences is related to the joy of a jigsaw puzzle.First, I need to teach the material that fits the age and learning level.Just as a child needs a colorful puzzle with less pieces and an adult enjoys the challenge of a 1,000 piece mountain meadow puzzle, I need to consider my class.When teaching middle school or lower level physical science, I will focus on trying to communicate the big picture and have the hands on experiments more relaxed.I will expect basic math skills, but may guide them carefully through it. With an AP Physics class, I will not only cover concepts and do hands-on experiments, but I will expect them to enjoy the challenge of math application.I will spend more time going over the math and will expect them to practice at home.
Second, I will teach them the process.Just as there is a logical process with jigsaw puzzles (look at the cover, organize the pieces according to edges or middle, organize the pieces according to similar colors, start with the edges, and then proceed with the middle section), there are processes with physical science.With hands-on experiments, I will guide them through this by giving them the question, showing them how to measure and organize data, and then guiding them through to finding the answers.The repetition of this process will build their confidence.In regards to doing story problems, I will teach them the process, such as first ask what is wanted and what unit the answer is measured in, then write the information given. These procedures are not easy at first, but starting with a few pieces, repeating and then guiding them through to a final outcome the calculating can be rewarding and fun.