Introducing FlippedAroundPhysics (and Flipped A-Level Physics Materials)

I have been a secondary science/physics teacher for 15 years in the UK state system and abroad. Between 2012-2014 I worked at a leading international school in Bangkok. This is where I was introduced to the concept of ‘flipping’. The school was very ‘cutting edge’ in the use of technology and encouraged the adoption of creative teaching methods. Almost half the teachers in the science department were flipping their classrooms.

On returning to the UK, in 2014, I decided to try out flipping as part of my professional development. I prepared a small unit to teach to a lower sixth physics class, producing video material and worksheets for students to complete. I had a mixed response from students. Many of the harder working students welcomed the chance to learn at their own pace and the opportunity to have more one-to-one dialogue with me (with the class time that flipping freed up). Other, generally lazier students, were less keen. They preferred the more traditional teaching approach, I suspect, because they were affronted by having to regularly do work outside class time.

The following year, I persuaded my colleagues in the physics department to flip a whole module. For this, I produced worksheets for students to complete at home, and links to relevant online material, including video. Because of time constraints, I chose not to produce my own instructional videos. I found, however, that there is plenty of quality video material already in existence. It occurred to me that what was lacking was quality material to accompany video material, to test student understanding.

At http://www.flippedaroundphysics.com/, I have worked on producing quality worksheets for topics in the A-level physics course. I have called these ‘core tasks’. Most core tasks contain a step by step development of ideas, which most A-level students should be able to cope with. Often core tasks have links in them. Where possible, I have been keen to link to simulations (e.g. the PhET simulations from the University of Colorado https://phet.colorado.edu , and the Walter Fendt simulations http://www.walter-fendt.de/html5/phen/), so that students can learn through exploration. I have also provided links to selected, quality, instructional material (including video) for each topic. Students can pick and choose what material to access. Completion of the core task should provide students with a basic understanding when they arrive in the classroom. Class time can then be devoted to deepening understanding through peer discussion, whole class discussion, by reviewing the core task, practical work, problem solving, etc.

At present, all the lower sixth material (over 60 worksheets) is available for free.

 

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