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Hands On Physics, Day 1 : Good questions

Physics (Fall 2013)Sean Murray

What is science? What is physics? What is a good question? What are we doing at this class?

Hands on Physics started with a discussion on these topics. It's always our goal at Tinkering School that kids don't just walk away with a set of facts lodged away for future use, but also take steps toward developing an active system for viewing the world. In Hands on Physics the system is founded on good questions, iterative methods or experimentation and assumption that the physical world is knowable, if only we look and listen hard enough.

Sean and Josh initially proposed a terrible question "How many kids does it take to balance against josh?" The kids identified its issues. "Wait, are the kids leaning on Josh? The question isn't specific." "How are we going to measure that?" Which starts a brief discussion on units and if "kid" was a valid unit? Until we narrowed to a more specific, more measurable and more interesting question. Given a large, balanced when empty scale (like a seesaw) could we accurately predict weather or not it will be balanced when we put different people on different ends?

The question isn't finished, it still isn't clear if multiple people and weights can be on the scale, or if they have to be on the ends of the scale. But those questions will come out as we make. This led to clarity in what we are testing, and what we need to build to test it.

From there we did tool training to get ready for the big build.

Lux practicing on the shop saw

Bryn practicing on the chop-saw

Isabela practicing on the chop-saw

Maddox and Trent working on their prototype scale

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