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7 Creative Ways to Teach Physics Without Lecturing

Usama Attiq
Teaching with Labster

Often, science can be challenging for students to learn. It is difficult for teachers to capture students’ attention using traditional physics teaching methods. Therefore, teachers may adopt advanced creative methods to teach physics to their students. New strategies can make physics topics more interesting and easier to understand. We provide seven effective ways to make your physics teaching life more manageable.

1. Learn through Storylines

Telling stories about the topic makes the connection between people and ideas. It can also help build trust between teachers and students. Students pay more attention and show more interest in stories. So, stories can make topics easier for students to understand. This is why all Labster simulations are developed in a storytelling format.

For instance, if you want to teach your students about collisions, Labster provides you with simulations related to collisions. In the Labster collision simulation, “Collisions: Elastic and Inelastic Forces”, students can learn about the elastic and inelastic forces by playing pool alongside Isaac Newton.

Collisions- elastic and inelastic forces virtual lab 2

2. Encourage your Students to Practice Simple Formulas

Teachers should discuss the basic formulas with their students. For instance, the average speed formula is S = d/t. This formula is used to calculate the average speed of a moving object for the distance covered and time duration. When you teach the average speed formula, you can explain to them basic information about the formula. The speed (S) and distance (d) are the scalar quantities that give magnitude but do not tell the direction.

3. Perform Interesting Experiments to Explain How Physics Works

If you want to make your physics lecture more exciting for students, you should teach your students several examples related to the topic. For example, you can use the flashlight to explain the principle of how light travels. You can throw the pen upward, which can come back due to gravity. It can help to explain the gravitational force. Students will remember these little activities or experiments performed in the class. They can also understand the topic with the help of these experiments. 

4. Relate Physics to Everyday Life

Several interesting events take place in our everyday life. Physics plays an essential part in the occurrence of these events around us. For instance, steam iron, ballpoint pen, car seat belt, or headphones. With advanced technology, physics is used in every important application that we use in our everyday life. So, students may find the topic more interesting to understand if teachers provide examples related to the real world.

Labster's electrical resistance simulation, “Electrical Resistance: Apply Ohm’s law to simple circuits”, helps students to understand resistance, resistivity, combining resistance in parallel and series, and Ohm’s law. After learning from this simulation, students will be able to create a simple circuit by applying Ohm’s law. 

Ohm's Law GIF

5. Encourage your Students to Ask Questions

While teaching physics, asking questions is a great way to ensure that students can understand the topic. You, as a teacher, can allow your students to ask questions relevant to the topic. It can be helpful to know whether your students understand the topic or not. It can also help to clear any kind of misunderstanding related to the concept. Asking questions can

reduce the chances of misconceptions and enhance the student’s attention to the topic.

6. Use Interactive Visuals

Interactive visuals can bring otherwise complex concepts to life. A study by Learning From Science News found that people had an easier time digesting and engaging with information when visualizing it. “The possibility to access information through clicking, sliding, or zooming-in might provide a more direct and personally meaningful experience of abstract phenomena and thus facilitate comprehension and learning.”

One way to use these visuals is through bite-size 3D animation videos. Labster offers many of these, including this free physics animation on YouTube: “Labster-Spring and Masses.”

7. Host a virtual field trip

Virtual field trips are effective in enhancing learning and can also keep students more engaged. On a field trip, teachers can take the students to the museum or park, which helps them to understand the topic better. Teachers can’t take their students on field trips regularly. So, a virtual field trip can help to explain the physics topics to the students appropriately.

With the help of the applications of Buoyancy simulation, “Applications of Buoyancy: Floatation”, students can learn about whether certain objects sink or float in the water. Teachers do not need to take their students to the lake to show the experiment; the Laster simulation can be of use here!

Buoyancy GIF

Questions for Reflection:

  • What other method have you found to engage students in physics class without lecturing?

  • What’s your favorite virtual lab simulation to teach Physics?

If you want to teach your students by using interesting virtual labs, check out our 30-day all-access educator's pass.