Thursday, 1 November 2012

John Orchard (Vice-Chair of Governors at Bartley Green School) - Thursday 1st November 2012

As part of a day in Bartley Green School visiting the science department and seeing it at work I spent part of the morning at the Physics Factory at King Edward VI Five Ways School with a group of our Year 11 students. I had demonstrated to me that "Physics is Fun!" as well as being very a very important subject with far reaching implications for understanding our natural world.

I was very impressed with the interest and enthusiasm shown by Bartley Green pupils for physics and the fact that some of them want to apply to King Edward's to study A Level physics.

I am very grateful to King Edward's for providing the opportunity for our pupils to develop an interest in physics

John Orchard

Thursday, 4 October 2012

New Physics Factory Ambassadors - 4th October 2012

We are pleased to announce the appointment of 14 new Physics Factory Ambassadors.

Last year's ambassadors made a real difference to the young people, teachers and VIPs using the Physics Factory. They spoke to them about studying Physics and how the Physics Factory benefits pupils who do not otherwise have a Physics specialist teaching them. They also helped non-specialist and specialist teachers alike appreciate practical ideas for making Physics relevant and fun. It was wonderful to watch these young people grow in confidence and knowledge through our ambassador initiative. Our four 2010-2011 ambassadors started university courses this September 2012 in Physics, Aeronautical engineering, Microbiology and Oceanography and we wish them every success.

Our new Ambassadors will be joining in with Physics Factory classes shortly - describing what A-level physics is like, why students may want to opt for it, encouraging more girls to continue with Physics beyond GCSE, as well as helping pupils with experiments and explaining aspects of Physics. If last year is anything to go by, their close hands-on help will really make a difference both to some of our students and practising teachers.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

KEFW Open Weekend - Fri 21st Sept/Sat 22nd Sept

Thank's to all the incredible Five Ways students who helped out during the school's open weekend! You were awesome! Phil and Jenny.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Kingshurst Academy AQA P1 & P2 Training - 4th September 2012

 Loads of fun; very hands on. Deborah Reilly.

Excellent day, really inspirational! Ross Slater.

16 delegates (87% of delegates said the course was very good)

Haselor Primary School (Alcester) - Light & Sound Training - 3rd September 2012

All of the practical experiments were really good and had lots of 'simple' ways to describe the science behind it! Sam Bates.

8 delegates - 100% of the delegates said the course was very good.

Friday, 24 August 2012

August 2012 GCSE Physics Headlines

Waverley - overall EDEXCEL Physics grade
100% A*-C
42% A*/A

Bartley Green - overall EDEXCEL Physics grade
100% A*-C
41% A*/A

Harborne Academy - overall EDEXCEL Physics grade
71% A*-C
21% A*/A

Al-Hijrah Girls - overall EDEXCEL Physics grade
100% A*-C
71% A*/A

Al-Hijrah Boys - overall EDEXCEL Physics grade
100% A*-C
25% A*/A

Lordswood Girls - AQA P1
100% A*-C
40% A*/A

King Edward VI Sheldon Heath Academy
100% A*-C
19% A*/A

Monday, 16 July 2012

12th July 2013 St Nicholas Alcester Primary Music Challenge

Around 36 Year 5 pupils from Alcester had a busy day taking part in the Primary Science of Music Challenge. This comprised every pupil helping with demonstrations about sound and vibrations, calculating the length needed and making thongophones, working out the volume of a wine glass and playing a piece of music as a team, preparing PowerPoint slides about what they had learnt and finally giving an interactive show about the Science of Music to their parents and Year 6's.

16 July 2013 St Huberts Y6 Forces and Rockets workshop

Forces can be fun! That was the conclusion after Y6 audience participation in demonstrations of how forces have direction and size (opening a syrup tin with a hammer), how they can effect objects (28 young Andy Murreys!), Newtons three laws of motion (including hovering ping-pong balls and paperclips – N1, accelerating balloons and eggs – N2, a pop-pop boat, bed springs – N3. Each child also took part in the balancing a Helium balloon practical, the rocket balloon race and firing water rockets over the school field!

11th July 2013 Bidford School Y5 Primary Music Challenge

10th July 2013 Al-Hijrah School Electricity Teachers CPD

Four Science teachers at Al Hijrah school, who will be teaching the whole of Edexcel’s IGCSE, enjoyed trying out over 25 practicals about Electricity, Electrostatics and Electromagnetism in a half-day CPD session. We also discussed, and demonstrated how to use, different models for teaching and learning about electrical circuits.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

NUC Subject Enhancement Course Day 6 - Earth in Space - Thursday 19th July 2012

You have both baffled and amazed me. You have inspired me to research it! Stuart.

A fantastic topic to end the two weeks on! Really interesting and fun. Laura Balding.

Sad to be leaving! Stephen Parkes.

NUC Subject Enhancement Course Day 5 - Light & Sound - Wednesday 18th July 2012

I loved every second of today! Year 10 work experience student.

NUC Subject Enhancement Course Day 4 - E.M.S. & Radioactivity - Tuesday 17th July 2012

NUC Subject Enhancement Course Day 3 - Electricity & Magnetism - Friday 13th July 2012

Massive eureka moment when Phil was using the sweet model to explain voltage and current, now I finally understand! Ahsum Khan.
Excellent day, keep up the enthusiasm! Gary Lawrence.

NUC Subject Enhancement Course Day 2 - Forces & Motion - Wednesday 11th July 2012

Excellent and engaging explanations for Newton's laws of motion. I previously just memorised the wordy definitions, but now I feel my understanding is where it should be for effective teaching.  Laura Balding.

I now feel a lot more comfortable about teaching forces and motion to a class and making it enjoyable. Darcie Tyler-Henley.

NUC Subject Enhancement Course Day 1 - Energy - Tuesday 10th July 2012

Completely not what I expected, very engaging and enjoyable! I've always thought of physics as a very dry subject, I realise now it is anything but! Laura Balding.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

AQA A2 Physics Days 1 & 2 - 26th and 29th June 2012

10 teachers attended each of the AQA A2 Physics CPD days at the KESH Academy Physics Factory, covering topics including Fields, Further Mechanics, Magnetism, Nuclear Physics, Thermal Physics and Astrophysics.

Electrostatics lesson for Bartley Green year 10s and their ‘non-specialist’ teacher

Enthusiastic Year 10 students from the local Bartley Green School visited the Physics Factory for a session on Electrostatics, which is part of their Physics GCSE P2 specification. They each had a go at charging balloons and ‘sticking’ them to uncharged surfaces, moving a stream of water using invisible electric fields, discovering how like and unlike charged objects repel and attract each other respectively and causing paper ‘dancers’ to jump up and down. The session ended with some Van Der Graaff demonstrations as fun for the pupils and CDP for their teacher (who, like many biology-specialists, was previously apprehensive about teaching the topic and using this high voltage equipment).

Primary Circuits day at Birmingham University

Year 5 pupils from three primary schools in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire spent the day at Birmingham University’s Physics department extending their knowledge and understanding of how electrical circuits work.

Following an introductory talk, each child took part in modelling how electrons move around circuits, demonstrating how energy is transferred to them by a battery/power source and transformed into light and heat energy at a light bulb. Pupils then constructed electrical circuits of their own with higher or lower resistance, measured their own resistance using a multimeter and learnt about the dangers of mains electricity and water. They made batteries out of lemons and were able to produce light with this, and investigated whether other fruit and potatoes made this happen too, the number of fruit/veg needed and so on.
The day ended with a tour of the campus and introduction to University life by University students.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

King Edward VI Five Ways Open Day

Once again the Physics Factory proved a popular destination for prospective KE Five Ways year 7 pupils and their parents. Among the highlights were interactive demonstrations, by younger Physics Factory Ambassadors from Five Ways school, of:

·         disappearing test tubes (showing the effect of similar refractive indices),

·         the pop-pop boat (Newton’s Third law of motion in action and the difference between speed and velocity),

·         melting and non-melting ice cubes on blocks of different materials at the same temperature,

·         popping a balloon with one nail is easier than with a dozen nails (illustrating pressure = force / area)

·         how to make a loudspeaker.

·         how to make a wine glass ring.

St Huberts Year 3 magnets workshop

On Wednesday June 26th 30 excited year 3 pupils from St Hubert’s CatholicPrimary school learnt all about magnetic forces.
We discussed what forces are, what are their effects? and different types of forces. Class volunteers demonstrated how a paperclip can hover in mid air held up by invisible forces, how compasses work and how the Earth’s magnetic field works. Every child then did three practicals to find out what materials are magnetic, to make a compass and to find the shape of the field around a bar magnet.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Rothschild summer networking meeting at the ThinkTank

This year Rothschild, the global financial services, decided to host their summer networking event for top people from their clients around the West Midlands, in support of the Physics Factory.

It was held at Birmingham’s science museum, the ThinkTank, surrounded by displays of technological innovations created or built in Birmingham from a spitfire built in Castle Bromwich to robots from Longbridge’s car industry.

John Collins, Secretary to the Governors at the King Edward VI schools in Birmingham, Alistair Allen, Director at Rothschild, Birmingham and Dan Cottle, Head of Physics at King Edward VI Five Ways school and Director of the Physics Factory gave speeches outlining the need for more Physics interventions and inspiration in Birmingham schools, how the Physics Factory addresses some of these needs and is a model of good practice in the area.

Our enormous thanks go to Rothschild for holding this event and raising profile of the Physics Factory.

Electricity and Lighthouses Year 2 workshop at St Hubert's primary school

We started with the excitement of burning about 25 model tudor houses, made from cardboard boxes as part of a history topic, in a re-enactment of the great fire of London in the school field.

The children then made a big ‘electrical’ circuit by holding hands in a class circle and lighting a cosmic ball, demonstrating complete circuits and the effect of a switch. This was followed by each child making simple electrical circuits with bulbs, different numbers of batteries in series and small motors. We then set up a working seascape and lighthouse model and talked about how lighthouses work. Finally the children learnt about what gives out light and what simply reflects it (like the moon) and the workshop finished with a question and answer session which ranged from discussion of power to whether our sun would turn into a wormhole.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Birmingham University PGCE students - what is the Physics Factory?

A fantastic morning, very engaging! Murcilla Mesleh.
Not only did I learn some better methods of pedagogy but could see so much value to the Physics Factory. Michelle Kelly.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Saturday, 2 June 2012

AQA GCSE P3 (new spec) Day 2 Training - Friday 15th June 2012

Excellent course, as always! Claire Garside, Cardinal Wiseman.

AQA GCSE P3 (new spec) Day 1 Training - Tuesday 12th June 2012

Hi Phil, Neil and Jenny,
Thanks again for today, as always I found it very stimulating and I never fail to find new things to bring back with me - I'm already trying to work out where to put a circuit on the floor in my lab and an EM Spectrum on the wall. Martin Casey, Head of Physics, Archbishop Ilsley, Birmingham.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The British School of Brussels - SciChem/Physics Factory training course - Friday 25th May 2012

On Thursday 24th May the Physics Factory delivered three Year 7/8 Forces and Motion masterclasses. The lessons were great fun with all students demonstrating great passion and enthusiasm for Physics. On Friday 25th we delivered a KS3 training event to thirteen delegates from schools from France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Holland. 100% of delegates said the course was very good with many delegates asking 'when is the next course!'.

Many thanks to Maria Schram (Head of Science), Steve Greenslade (Head of Physics) and everyone at the British School of Brussels for making the Physics Factory feel so welcome at your incredible school! We hope to be back again soon! Neil and Phil. 

"Excellent hands-on course! The best CPD in years". Veeve Stoefs, The British School of Brussels.

"Great atmosphere, loads of fun". Glenda Burbridge, Ecole Bilangue Internationale (Clermont-Ferrand).

"Well presented at an appropriate, friendly level - treated as fellow professionals". Mark Stenton, St George's International, Luxembourg.

"Superb course, really useful tips and ideas for demonstrations and practicals. I've never had so much fun with Physics! Great delivery by Phil and Neil". Juliet Roper, The British School of Brussels