Monday, November 16, 2009

Physics and the Space Shuttle in a Day

What an amazing picture that was found on the front page of today's New York Times!! Today I happened to be substitute teaching in a physics class and I told the students that I had not studied physics since I was in high school. One of the students exclaimed, "That proves my point. You don't use physics as an adult!" I wish that I had thought of this comment then, but while one individual may not use physics very much as an adult, it's a very good thing that humankind has developed the scientific discipline of physics. Consider the many different benefits that have accrued to humankind because of space exploration. Consider the many different ways in which products once developed for the use of astronauts are now in use by common people. (If you doubt this, just do a bit of research!!)

By the way, if I was going to use this picture in a classroom, I might simply ask students to describe what they see. Challenge them to develop their descriptions as deeply as possible. In a physics class, such a discussion could prompt a consideration of the ways in which an understanding of physics has made this situation possible. In an English/language arts class, students could be asked to write their descriptions in essay format.

Rather than pointing students to this blog post, you could point them to the New York Times page, here.

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