Silly Beagle Productions produces the student-centered educational podcast "Physics In Action," a secondary-level podcast in which each episode brings you applications and analysis of physics in such diverse settings as sports, movies, video games, and television. We also take a look into the frontiers of physics exploration, and highlight interviews with exciting personalities on the leading edge of physics innovation and application. So join us on our trip into the fantastic world of physics, and don't forget, you can always check out our main podcast website at www.PhysicsInAction.com, or subscribe free by clicking on our podcast logo!
What To ExpectPhysics in Action is designed as an amalgamation of both audio and video segments related to physics in our world. These segments are as varied as the interests of those creating the podcast. One episode may feature an analysis of Newton’s Laws of Motion applied to skateboarding, an interview with a leading author and physics educator, and a discussion about the physics in the latest popular movie. The next episode could just as easily include a segment showing students how to solve a sample physics problem they’ve been struggling with, a look at the physics of the latest Xbox or PS3 video game, a physics website review, and an original musical composition featuring some aspect of physics.
Of course, in many cases the activities and situations we explore are more complex than just the single base concept we apply. In the interest of simplicity and understanding of fundamentals, however, in most cases we will try to limit our analysis to application of a single concept, and beg the subscriber’s indulgence in the simplifications and assumptions we make.
Why You Should SubscribeFor many, physics has been a feared and dreaded topic, rife with a strange, esoteric language known as mathematics. I want you to understand up front, physics is not mathematics. Having said that, physics is the study of the world around us, and one of the most efficient tools for describing that world is mathematics. You wouldn’t use a screwdriver to put a nail in a board unless you absolutely had to, when it’s obvious the most efficient tool for this job would be a hammer (or a nail gun, for those who love power tools or anything that shoots a projectile. And really, who doesn’t?)
Enjoying Physics In Action isn’t a passive endeavor. It’s the work of a community contributing and working toward a common goal. This community extends beyond the classroom walls – we welcome your feedback and input. If there’s something you’d like to see us take a look it, if you have input into the show, a question, a comment, or want to create a segment yourself, we welcome the opportunity to collaborate. Feel free to leave us feedback on iTunes or e-mail us at PhysicsInActionPodcast@gmail.com. Shoot us an e-mail anytime. Or, better yet, record a quick audio file using Sound Recorder and we may be able to include it on the air. Or even more exciting, send us a video of your question, comment, segment, analysis – if your submission’s too big, e-mail us and we’ll work something out. Leave feedback on our website at http://www.physicsinaction.com/.
So to answer the original question, Why Should You Subscribe? You should subscribe because the moment you become a subscriber, this becomes not just a podcast you listen to, it becomes the podcast you help create!
Why Are We Doing This?
So you may be asking yourselves, why another physics podcast? Searching through the iTunes Store’s podcast section or other podcast directories, it’s not hard to find podcasts from physics teachers, and the quality of many of these is truly outstanding. I’d like to specifically highlight Dale Basler’s Baslercast: Physics, available on iTunes, as well as Everyday Science and Little Shop of Physics, put together by Brian Jones’ Little Shop of Physics team, also available on iTunes. Of course, there are a number of other great physics and science podcasts which fill up my iPod subscription list, but it occurred to me that almost exclusively, these podcasts are created by those who already have a fairly firm handle on basic physics.
What would happen, then, if instead of having an instructor-created physics podcast, we published a physics podcast created from the ground up by a learning community? Students and instructors, as a team, work to better understand the world as they put together a fun and educational podcast bringing the rigor of physics analysis to activities, settings and situations relevant to today’s learners. A great mentor and friend explained to me that “what a person can repeat, they know. What a person can write about, they really know. But what a person can teach, they understand.” What we’re really doing here is creating not just a community of learners, but a community of teachers, fostering inquiry and exploration as we each learn how to teach each other and ourselves, effectively building independent lifelong learners, a skill set that is tremendously important in today’s ever-changing world.
From an educational perspective, there are many benefits to undertaking a project of this sort. Besides the obvious organizational and presentation skills, students learn to take their conceptual understandings and transfer them to unfamiliar situations, a key skill and focus of educators in our district. The project is interesting and relevant to students – they are choosing the topics for segments, they are creating the analysis to the level they choose (with perhaps a few subtle nudges in the right direction to extend a little further than is comfortable). This is physics differentiated to the learning community at a very high level – differentiated in terms of interest, in terms of depth, and in terms of experience. Finally, I’m a fan of any project that results in kids refining their writing and critical thinking skills, and if we can do it in a context that is novel and fun, with a final tangible outcome that the kids can show off, be proud of, and enjoy, I think we’ll have created something truly special.