Bringing mechanics to life

Thursday 7th May 2020

It feels like a lifetime ago but, back in March, the AMSP was still running face-to-face teacher professional development events. In fact, on our last day before retreating to solely online provision, Ted Graham delivered a Practical Problem Solving in the Mechanics Classroom day to a group of teachers from a variety of schools in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.

The event was held at The King’s School in Ottery St Mary, a Devonian town renowned as the country’s epicentre for flaming tar barrels on Guy Fawkes Night. I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to Rob Lunnun and Tom Whitworth from The King’s School maths department for looking after us all so well on the day.

Ted brought his usual mix of inspirational starting points, engaging presentations and enjoyable activities. These included using video clips (the Megawoosh clip on YouTube has to be seen to be believed!), interactive technology (the Dynakar is a particularly useful bit of kit for the mechanics classroom), thought experiments and loads of practical situations that could be incorporated into your mechanics lessons.

I now know that the main use of a calculator is in the calculation of the coefficient of friction (as an object that can slide down an inclined plane), which way a bicycle moves if pulled by a rope attached to its pedals, and exactly how far down my body my centre of mass is. I hope that we will be able to run this day again next year somewhere in the South West, along with many other A level professional development opportunities for maths teachers based in this part of the country.

By Tom Rainbow

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