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Physics, Fun, and Beyond: Electrifying Projects and Inventions from Recycled and Low-Cost Materials Paperback – August 12, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0131856738 ISBN-10: 0131856731 Edition: 1st

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Physics, Fun, and Beyond: Electrifying Projects and Inventions from Recycled and Low-Cost Materials + Hands-On Physics Activities with Real-Life Applications: Easy-to-Use Labs and Demonstrations for Grades 8 - 12 + Physics Demonstrations: A Sourcebook for Teachers of Physics
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (August 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131856731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131856738
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #747,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

About the Author

Eduardo de Campos Valadares received his doctorate in physics from the Brazilian Center for Physical Research in Rio de Janeiro in 1987 and did postdoctoral research at São Paulo University (1987–1990) and at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom (1990–1993). Since 1993, he has been with the Physics Department of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, one of the major Brazilian universities. Valadares has published over 60 papers in different areas of condensed matter physics, physics education, and the popularization of science. His first book is a translation of work by the German poet Stefan George (Iluminuras, São Paulo, 2000), followed by Física mais que divertida (UFMG University Press, 2000, 2nd edition, 2002), launched in Germany in 2003 by Aulis Verlag Deubner (Spaβ mit Physik) and now in the United States by Prentice Hall (the American edition, Physics, Fun, and Beyond, is enlarged with over 40 new projects and includes comments on all experiments). He also published in Brazil a biography of Isaac Newton (Odysseus Editora, 2003), illustrated with low-cost experiments highlighting Newton's ideas. Valadares is co-author of an introductory book on nanotechnology targeted at secondary school teachers, a joint publication of the Brazilian Physical Society and Editora Livraria da Física (2005). In 2001 he received the State Prize Francisco the Assis Magalhães Gomes for his contributions to popularization of science and technology in Brazil. He is also the president of the Youth Science Foundation Brazil. Valadares loves playing with his three children, who deeply inspire him, and to contemplate the world from the top of the mountains surrounding his home.


© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Preface

Preface

What This Book Is About

Physics, Fun, and Beyond is an attempt to link science education with discovery and innovation. Its basic idea is to provide a framework for further development, starting with mostly simple and inexpensive do-it-yourself projects. The suggested experiments and prototypes are a guide into "worlds within worlds," using recycled and low-cost materials, which you can find in drugstores, hardware stores, and other familiar locations. By becoming familiar with household tools—and taking appropriate safety measures—you can perform wonders. You can greatly improve your perception of the world all around you, discover firsthand that many of Nature's laws are just around the corner, and explore how they are interrelated. You will be challenged to think about all the possible applications of what you learn and to build more sophisticated prototypes on your own. Yes, you should explore all the possibilities within your reach. The basic requirements are the desire to enjoy yourself and a good dose of creativity—something everyone has plenty of. There are experiments for all tastes and ages. The proposed projects are only a few of the possible ways to discover, explore, and demonstrate how science and Nature work together. As you build on the concepts presented in this book, you will soon realize that you are surrounded by opportunities for discovery and innovation.

Another major goal of this book is to foster teamwork. Feel free to invite your classmates and friends to take part in the adventure of discovering Nature. Experience the fun of sharing your discoveries. You will learn that more ideas flow and results are attained much faster when you work as a team. The point is to find simple and inexpensive solutions. The world is looking for new discoveries. Why not display your experiments in parks, shopping malls, youth centers, children's parties, or at schools? That is the big challenge. Science is contagious. Just give it a try!

How This Book Is Organized

Physics, Fun, and Beyond is divided into five major blocks of experiments under the headings Fun With Mechanics; Playing With Light: Optics; The World of Atoms and Our World: Cold, Heat, and Giant Bubbles; Playing With Sounds: Acoustics; and Electrifying Experiments: Electricity and Magnetism. This does not mean that the experiments are isolated from each other. Quite the contrary—there are multiple crosslinks connecting the various experiments and prototypes.

The traditional divisions of physics into separate areas is totally artificial. More and more, the boundaries within physics and within science in general are being pushed further or are simply vanishing. In the twenty-first century, perhaps we will learn to see science without boundaries. Hopefully, we will learn to see the world in the same way—without boundaries—so that all of humankind can enjoy living in it and appreciate its beauty.

Who This Book Is For

This book is addressed to a wide readership. Teachers and students are not the only people who get interested in and involved with science and technology. My experience has shown that curious people of all ages become thrilled with the unique way of approaching the world that science enables. This book uses an accessible language and means to describe Nature, in "as simple a way as possible, though not simpler," as once stated by Albert Einstein.

Parents with much younger children who are interested in science—or even just in "tricks"—will find here many opportunities to enjoy themselves, with child supervision and assistance, of course! There is magic in science that we can all enjoy—especially when we share it!

Most of the projects suggested are simple enough for middle school children (ages 10 to 14) or home schooling at the same level or even younger children. My experience has shown that an instructor (teacher or parent) is necessary in these cases to supervise the kids and provide assistance whenever necessary. The handling of tools, like an electric drill or a jigsaw, should in most cases be done by an adult or with teacher supervision.

Ideally, the instructor should provide the children with some parts of the experiments that require more time to prepare or are more demanding. For example, youngsters will love to make rockets with air propulsion. The instructor should make the platform so the children can concentrate on making different models of rockets using just paper, scissors, and white glue.

The most important point is to create a favorable atmosphere for children to explore new possibilities and to come up with new ideas. Children are very creative, and the instructor is sure to be impressed with their progress and to benefit from many of their suggestions. The success of this strategy relies very much on selecting which activities the kids can do on their own and which ones they need assistance with.

Some projects offer several degrees of sophistication. An example is the wind tunnel, which starts with simply blowing a piece of paper. Another example is the flying saucer ("Outsmarting Friction"), the simplest version of which is a CD model that is easy to make. The next stages of both projects are increasingly more demanding in terms of skills, although they can still be used in demonstrations in connection with the simpler versions. The underlying principles are the same, so both children and adults will marvel at the same experiments. Other projects, although simple to make, are conceptually more sophisticated and are prone to inspire college freshmen. The sequence of experiments of "The Astronaut in the Elevator," "Bouncing Balls," and "New Discoveries with Polarizers may belong to this class. The experiments which are more demanding are highlighted with a star (intermediate level) and two stars (more advanced level).

One important point to keep in mind is that every age group has different needs and skills. Teenagers 14 to 17 years old will definitely want to do whole projects on their own and put into practice lots of new ideas for science fair projects. They should become familiar with basic tools and safety measures before moving on to implement their projects. This will help prevent accidents. (This holds true for all age groups, for even a simple piece of paper can cut someone's hand if not properly handled—see "A Paper Saw?")

Teachers with no science background but who want to expose their students to the "wonder" of science can greatly benefit from first doing some of the proposed experiments on their own before assigning simple projects to their students. To understand the importance of challenges in the educational process, teachers should first feel for themselves the thrill of discovery. Once they catch the spirit, they will be able not only to enthuse their students but also to explore the results of the experiments and enrich their classes. Parents who home school their children or who want to enrich their children's public school education should also do some of the experiments on their own first, and then do them along with their children. The cooperative effort provides a unique opportunity for parents and children to benefit from their mutual progress as they advance in exploring new possibilities. Students should be encouraged to share their inventions with their classmates and friends so that they can learn from each other as well as with each other.

College and High-School instructors and lecturers who have a laboratory as part of introductory courses should take advantage of the many simple demonstrations proposed here. They should also consider challenging their students to develop innovative projects on their own, using inexpensive materials. The first step toward this goal could be improving projects like the ones proposed in this book, so that students become more motivated, gain confidence, and develop the required skills to tackle more sophisticated projects. I started this approach some years ago and have so far collected a number of success stories. Some of my freshman students were the first ever at my university to apply for a patent.

Since innovation, discovery, perception, and pro-activity are so greatly emphasized in this book, it may also be of interest to non-science students looking for new approaches to the science of everyday life and also for all people involved in fostering creativity in companies, factories, and workplaces in general. After all, we need to move quickly in a world that is technologically reinventing itself every day. Apparently, educational systems around the world are far behind this ever-growing wave of innovative technologies that are shaping a new era for humankind.

What Support Is Provided

A general introduction to the tools and safety measures needed to implement the projects is presented in "How to Get Going." The material required for each experiment and prototype is described in detail in "Supplies." Suggestions on how to do the projects are presented in "Step By Step." Further suggestions are found in "A Step Further" and "A Step Even Further" sections. Hints about the science underlying the experiments and prototypes, provided in the "Fun Facts" sections, help you find new insights and stimulate further thoughts about the science behind each project. You will be challenged to find out what comes next, to find alternatives when you don't have the materials required, and to invent things you probably never dreamed of. The whole idea is to foster curiosity and fresh explorations. Innovation and discovery are often a product of lack of means, of lucky opportunities that turn up when you are after new possibilities, and of looking at things from different perspectives.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Michael Hugh Knowles on October 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
Upfront FYI: (I should have written this review years ago; my apologies to everyone.) I was the main translator of this book from the Portuguese version to English, although Eduardo added many new experiments in his very good English, which I merely polished. I even enjoyed doing dry runs on all the experiments to make sure pieces were counted right, fit together right, etc. In fact, this was how I first met Eduardo. I was (and am) retired and living in Belo Horizonte, MG, Brasil, with my Brazilian wife, Maristela. Back in the 1960s I was a physics major in college (but got my bachelors in math, etc). My native English was still good (although I keep forgetting it more and more), and my Portuguese just passable enough for me to try, so I wangled the job. I was very lucky to have done so. Eduardo's enthusiasm for finding new experiments with new insights was contagious, and his philosophy for sharing his love and knowledge of physics inspiring. (And they still are!) I have known Eduardo as a friend for years now, and it is always a pleasure to meet with him and find out his latest experiments and successes in improving science education around the world.

The most important thing I want to say here is that Physics, Fun and Beyond is much more than just your usual book of a bunch of physics experiments for kids. Sure, it helps that a real effort was made to make sure all the experiments could be done with recycled and low cost materials. But Eduardo has a philosophy of teaching kids TO LOVE EXPERIMENTING TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS, not just to obtain a result they are told in advance they should obtain.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By G. G. Cuevas on September 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'm working as a senior high school physics teacher and I find that this book is an excellent help to my job. I have several similar books and this one is one of the best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By average joe on October 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a science teacher I thought this would be a great resource. It is weak for h.s, maybe it would be good for elementary.
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