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Alexandra Hewitt, AC for Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire

Teachers in Buckinghamshire enjoyed an afternoon led by AMSP Associate Lesley Swarbrick exploring how to mix up their teaching. We started by considering how to motivate calculus by developing graphical work on suvat into situations where acceleration was not constant, noting that if calculus and mechanics are taught by the same teacher, the class could move seamlessly from mechanics into learning about differentiation, and back again into examples in mechanics.

AMSP Area Coordinator Alexandra Hewitt then used some of the brilliant Mechanics in Action activities to investigate vector properties of forces using spring balances and flip-chart paper. I wonder how many of us just tell the students that forces are vectors – and can be combined using the rules of vectors – rather than considering any sort of justification of this concept?

Finally, after investigating parabolas with wet tennis balls, Lesley introduced transformations of graphs using mechanics problems with two different start times. This made use of both Desmos and Geogebra.

Delegates said that this was a “wonderful course” and “great training”, and enjoyed looking at “ways of making the hypothetical more touchable”, appreciating the use of software and practical activities.

This course was provided because local teachers asked for support with teaching mechanics. If you have any CPD needs, let your Area Coordinator know – it is usually possible to respond to requests if there is sufficient interest from other schools.

We often get requests for mechanics CPD, and Sue de Pomerai and Jeff Trim will be leading Gaining Confidence with Mechanics in the new A level in Bognor Regis on Friday 15th March. Places are still available and we would encourage you to sign up if you are new to teaching mechanics or feel you lack confidence.

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