Middle School Science
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Middle School Science The Philadelphia School. Yes, it’s rocket science :. TPS teachers Laura Matheny, Virginia Friedman, and Steve Bartholomew collaborated with Phil Nelson (University of Pennsylvania Physics Department), doing hands-on science with middle-school students. .

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Middle School ScienceThe Philadelphia School

Yes, it’s rocket science :

TPS teachers Laura Matheny, Virginia Friedman, and Steve Bartholomew collaborated with Phil Nelson (University of Pennsylvania Physics Department), doing hands-on science with middle-school students.

At many schools, middle-school science instruction is based on learning and repeating poorly understood facts. We preferred to show children some intrinsically exciting phenomenon, take some quantitative data, make some graphs, and ask for their ideas. Then we try to connect to other phenomena.

Above, students launch bottle-rockets they designed. Right, Nelson discusses the analysis.


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Middle School ScienceThe Philadelphia School

Yes, it’s rocket science :

We obtained the trajectories by analyzing individual video frames from movies like the one above, then graphed the height at each successive frame. The resulting graph was a parabola, showing constant acceleration; measuring its curvature gave a surprisingly accurate value for the acceleration of gravity.

Above, Virginia Friedman discusses the idea of constant-acceleration motion. Right, a student’s graph of height versus time.


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