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Back to the Future

I love the idea of time travel.

In the fantastic motion picture Looper, a young man has to confront his older self. In the film the older wiser man, must convince his younger brash self to not - well I don't want to spoil this great sci-fi thriller.




We never get the opportunity in life to teach our younger self a lesson. To find our younger self and impart some wisdom into that naive inexperienced being.  If we could tell that younger self what is important and what no to stress over, well how could we resist.  But, by doing so, would we deprive ourselves of those experiences.  I love time paradoxes - I am a physics teacher.

As a culture there have been great movements of adults reaching out to the younger generations to provide that support.  I can't help but point to the It Gets Better Project.





How can we as teachers not see ourselves as time travelers talking to our younger selves.  Yes, we can load them up with content, but why not try to instill them with a little bit more.  Earlier this year I was able to get in touch with Jessica Ebert, a fellow teacher in my district.  She had posted some great products her students had created while studying sound.

I knew that my AP students were going to be soon studying sound. So I brought up the idea of possibly doing some kind of join instruction.  Now that was during 1st Quarter.  Who knew that we were actually going to follow through on this comment I posted on Google+.  Well, we did today!

My AP students became time travels today.  They visited their 4th grade selves.  Well, not literally.  They visited with the 4th Graders from Swanson Elementary School.  During this time they taught the content they learned only a matter of months ago to the 4th graders.  It was done via rotating stations in which groups of my students were allowed to choose a topic related to sound that they found most fascinating.  Through engaging demonstrations and interactives my students attempted to sell the next generation on basically how cool science is.

What is a sound wave and string instruments.




How Speakers Work




Sound Uncovered Application on iPads




Wind Instruments



Makey Makey




The Speed of Sound




I don't like to put out the gender card to much, but isn't it great to see women teaching each other the joys of science, especially physical sciences?!



I can't express how amazed and proud I was of my students. Their ability to be great teachers and role models was amazing. It was probably my proudest day as an educator.


It's my hope that this will become a yearly tradition. In about 6 years, I hope to have some of those 4th graders in my AP class ready to travel back to Swanson one last time.  Who knows, maybe this was they day they knew they'd be taking physics in high school.

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