4 Visual Aids Physical Science Teachers Can Use to Make Classes Memorable

By Meghan Belnap

Are your students falling asleep during your lectures? From ADHD to rumbling stomachs, there are many reasons that young adults find it difficult to concentrate in school. However, sometimes you have to face the fact that your boring lecture is the reason for your class catching z’s. If you’re struggling to capture your students’ attention, try these four visual aids to create memorable lessons.

Show How Soundwaves Travel

For this demonstration, you will need two identical glasses, water, a sponge and a piece of thin wire. To begin, fill each glass with equal amounts of water and stretch the wire over the top of one glass. Then move your finger across the rim of the other glass and watch the wire move. The glasses have the same natural frequency because they contain the same amount of water, which means that sound can travel from one to the other.

Recreate the Process of Erosion

A stream table is a scientific model that simulates the process of erosion through different types of sand and soil. You can purchase beautifully crafted models that come with different types of sand for experimenting or create your own with a large roasting pan and sand collected from outdoors. Either way, your students can observe the process of erosion in real time and see how it varies when the type of soil and path of water flow is changed.

Observe Magnetic Fields

This is an easy experiment that only requires some iron filings, a magnet and a piece of paper. Just sprinkle the filings on a sheet of white paper and bring the magnet close to the underside of the paper. Like magic, the filings will form a line along the magnetic field so your students can observe its contours.

Visualize Gravitational Pull

The concept of gravitational pull can be difficult to explain, but you can make it simple with just a piece of lycra fabric, a frame and a couple of large ball bearings. Stretch the fabric over a round frame, such as a quilting frame. Then place one metal ball in the center. Now, have your students observe as you place another ball at the edge of material and the two balls move toward each other.

Although visual aids can be fun, remember not to take up too much class time with them. A good visual aid goes a long way in reinforcing the lesson, but lectures and reading materials allow students to cover more information in less time.

I am, once again, partnering with Angela Watson to help promote her 40-Hour Teacher Workweek Club. It’s an online professional development program that has already helped more than 32,000 teachers take control of their time and stay focused on what matters most. The next cohort is starting this summer, and the Club has been updated to cover emerging best practices for the changes ahead. Click here to receive a reminder email to sign up for Early Bird Access on June 8.

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