Hints and tips - 3 minute read
John Dewis - Subject Advisor, Science
‘Can we do a practical instead?’ The words hurt. How can anyone not be amazed by your online video deriving the SUVAT equations from a velocity–time graph. However, it would be great if your students could practise their practical skills at home. Better still, you won’t need to set anything up or tidy it away!
Teaching science remotely has its challenges, but we are lucky in this age that there are so many online resources available. Students can access video demonstrations, online tutorials and worksheets posted online. However, science can play an even more important role in the home curriculum.
Practical science offers students the opportunity to practise important practical skills while also providing a challenge, variation in the day and a break from their screens.
We will be suggesting practical activities in our science blog over the coming weeks that students can do at home with minimal equipment.
These open investigations will lead to students asking important questions and deciding for themselves how best to approach a problem. The activities could also be used to encourage online discussion between your students.
First up is a simple physics experiment with water waves.
This is a simple experiment to investigate water waves using a tray of water. This short video from GCSE online explains how to generate a water wave and determine its speed using a tray, some water, a stopwatch and a metre rule.
The equipment list and procedure can be adapted by students to suit their investigation and the equipment they have available. For example, a tape measure can be substituted for a metre rule.
The first problem students will need to solve is how to obtain an accurate value for the speed of the wave. A natural progression from this will be to look at how the depth of the water in the tray is related to the speed of the wave.
This IOP resource explains more about the theory of water waves. While much of the theory here is beyond the specifications, we can take a suitable hypothesis from this resource for A Level and GCSE students to test using practical skills from the specifications.
For shallow water, the speed v of the wave can be approximated to √ (gh) = v, where g is the gravitational field strength and h is the depth of the water.
Some of the many questions your students may wish to consider are:
I hope you and your students enjoy this practical activity. Post your videos and results on our Twitter channel @OCR_Science using the hashtag #OCRwaves.
If you have ideas for practicals you think might be useful for teachers and students let us know in the comments below.
If you have any queries or questions, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on 01223 553998. You can also sign up to subject updates and receive information about resources and support.
John is the A Level and GCSE Physics Subject Advisor at OCR. John has worked in assessment for over ten years on international and UK Physics qualifications and is enjoying working with the OCR teaching community in his current role.