Neat Zippy IV is a compilation of ideas and resources following in the tradition of neat zippy ideas Vol 1 – 3.

The contents page is reproduced below.

This is a copy of the contents page for neat zippy ideas iv. neat zippy

volume iv November 1998

This is an annotated contents section, put here to avoid cluttering up the pages that follow. A lot of teachers have contributed work to make this possible. Thanks to Walt Rutgers who started the editing.

The Material.

I trust that we have not lost material between when we began and when we finished. If we have, then sorry in advance, please resend it. Our intention is to make further material available on the web site and when we have enough to release Volume V.

Feel free to send contributions to us.

We hope you are able to use some of this, and that it saves you lots of time and effort.

Derek Chirnside, Compiler, Neat Zippy IV
On behalf of the NZIP Education Committee
18th November 1998

Local Physics Groups: What makes for success?

  • Electricity and Magnetism

  • AC Theory: Ideas in Teaching ac 8Denis Burchill decribes some of the common issues in teaching and demonstrating the ideas of an LCR cirtuit at resonanceElectronics/Electricity worksheets: Introduction
  • Some worksheets from Riccarton High School’s worksheets based on the Electroflash kits, Digital Multimeters and Crocodile Clips.Expt 1 Current measuring with a DMM 11
    Expt 2 Voltage 13
    Expt 3 Resistance Measurements 14
    Expt 4 Testing Components 15
    Voltage Current Relationships Expt 1 Resistor, Expt 2 Lamp, Expt 3 Diode. 16
    Parallel Circuits 17
    Series Circuits 19
    Light Alarms 22

Ohm’s Law analogy 24

An innovative and creative new analogy for Ohms Law from Jenny McKelvie. Arnie and Vennie and their Coulambs. Story plus overhead transparency.

Slow ac demonstration. 26

Rob Campbell’s visual demonstration of phase differences in ac. These are described in detail in his book “Physics Alive”. These worksheets come from his workshop he gave at a conference (Wellington’s last SCICON probably)

Power transfer in a Stereo

  • An overhead transparency for a short electricity question for a Form Six class. One of those simple ideas that if you actually do it rather than just be told the penny drops a lot more solidly. 30

Five Level 13 AC worksheets

  • Phase relationships in an R-C circuit was designed to accompany a demonstration and it’s main aim was to reduce stenography. 31

AC applied problems is really just exam practice. From an old bursary question. 32

  • R-C-L circuits. This originated as a test. 33
    Oscilloscope Questions. Pre-laboratory warmup exercise 34
    Waves and Phase difference. Yet another attempt to make this complex idea clear.
    For more Growing Minds pages, contact Derek Chirnside at Riccarton High School, Christchurch. 35

Yet another Ohms Law circuit board 36
This idea has the potential to change life in teaching junior electricity, reducing stress levels, reducing gear breakages and helping the resident biologist through the trauma of teaching this subject.

Nuclear Physics

  • Nuclear Power 37
    As a way to put a human face on the subject of physics and possibly add some historical context to the physics ideas we teach, quotes from writers in the past are often interesting.

Astrophysics Still a favourite Special Topic

  • An Astronomy Question 38
    Lyndon Watson from the Dept of Physics and Astronomy, Canterbury University, has written this worksheet. It uses some data from his master’s thesis and is a question that could go with Doppler and Redshift at Form 7 level.
    Video Worksheet: Einstein’s Universe 41This movie is quite old now, but it is still a good accessible survey of basic ideas to do with the average Astrophysics Special Topic. Peter Ustinov narrates most of it, with interviews with scientists, some real measurements (eg the speed of light and the effect of gravity on time) as well as some nice computer simulations. I’m sure some of Peter’s humour goes right over the head of the average physics nerd. The video is about 1 hr 15min.

    Spectrum analysis Worksheets 42
    Included for those who were not around in the days of the great curriculum revamp of the early 1990’s. These sheets were available at most of the inservice courses we had then. They come courtesy of Jim Jardine and the Scottish curriculum resources.

    They feature some known spectra and some unknown ones. The idea is to figure out what the unknown ones are. Another case where a hands on demo is worth a kb of words.

Interesting Reading

  • Nano-Technology 44
    A short reading on Simon Brown’s work with atomic clusters at the University of Canterbury. You don’t have to go overseas to be involved in cutting edge physics research.

Force and Motion

  • Circular Motion 47
    An overhead transparency. A good problem for small groups to work on together.
    Good or Bad Physics. 48
    Form Six level worksheet. Force and acceleration. A good relief lesson possibility. Would suit small group work with a single group answer.
    Free Fall 49

    Possible Assignment at Form Six level. Also used in 1998 also as a PHYS102 mini assignment for university students at Canterbury. (??)


  • Projectiles fired over a cliff. A projectiles activity. Pretty boring, but the activity of plotting these things can realy help some students – after projectiles have been video’d etc. 51Albert the Ant. Good for levels 10 – 11. 52Seatbelt safety. Could be made a little more interesting. Done in a rush for a relief lesson. 53More Free Body Diagrams. The FBD is an absolutely fundamental idea. 54

Uncanny Canisters 55

A nifty easily made demo for rotational motion from Heather Stump. An interesting comment on use in practical tests as well.

Crash Bang Oops!! 57
Macro Physics.

Marble Launcher 58
A projectile motion “Experiment-Problem” Make sure you remember all the OSH guidelines here. Called ‘The Pinkie’ due to it’s effect on one’s bare thigh should this experiment go wrong. As far as is known, first developed at Awatapu College in 1991.

Four Ideas 59
Momentum and Impulse, a Cheap alternative to video capture gear, a circular motion demo, and a SHM demo

Wave Motion

  • A BIG Ripple Tank 61Anna Cox describes using her local beaches for a Wave Motion field trip. Some ideas and a sample worksheet.Finding the Speed of Light with a Bag of marshmallows 63An interesting demonstration with a microwave. Not tried!! I’m just taking their word for it.Two Waves Worksheets 64Two source interference patterns and Two ways to show a wave.

The Web

  • Teachers @work 66Mark Treadwell’s list of a few sites worth visiting from the scores (hundreds??) he has rated. If you are looking for some excellent links of educational value, this is a good place to start.His Home Page: Physics Section:

Problem Sheet ideas

  • The Campbell Homework Corporation 69Homework sheets from Rob Campbell at Wellington College. Really for junior science, but with some neat ideas for creating interest and entertainment while doing some real work. The worksheets speak for themselves. Sorry for the odd formatting, this is a remnant of a conversion from Wordperfect. No complaints about these being not all physics topics please. You may find some of these on our web site so you can alter them to suit yourself. Note: Rob is currently writing something like this approach for publication.
  • Assignment One: Welcome to the Campbell Homework Corporation 70
    Assignment Two: Who wrote it? (Scientific method) 71
    Homework Sheet #3: Rules and Regulations 72
    Assignment Four: Icebergs. (Writing a Report) 73
    Assignment #6: S u p e r m a n (On energy) 74
    Assignment #7: Cabbage Patch Chemistry 75
    Assignment #8: Crystal Cultures 76
    Homework Sheet #11: Biowatch 77

Project Starters and Ideas.

  • A Light Beam Communicator 78
    Send a radio signal over a modulated light beam. Another contribution by Denis Burchill.
    Hero’s Engine 81
    A working demo design from David Newton.
    The Loudspeaker 82
    An introduction to electromagnetism Full working model. From Walt Rutgers.

    Pintraks 85
    An innovative approach to electronics, technology and electricity from Julian Earwacker, St Bedes College, Christchurch

Physics Practice

  • What’s happened to ‘Uncertainties” ? 88
    Some considered comment, opinion and reviews of some books from Paul Nistor. Still a contentious issue!!
    Student Evaluation and Self Assessment 90Three sheets. From Paul Nistor. You can ask him if you are interested in knowing what his ‘cycle of ten hands-on essential practical skills’ entails.

Teaching Practice.

  • Eric Mazur’s ConcepTests 93Eric Mazur teaches at Harvard University. His book “Peer Instruction” is available for downloading off the web. I’ve printed a short extract out of it here. Following this are a few examples of ConcepTests ® These are short questions useable to test student understanding while a class is in process.Learning to think like a Physicist 102An extract from an American Journal of Physics article.The Crash Dummy Problem 106
    One example of a problem sheet which seeks to spell out the methods
    Some current trends in Physics Education Research 107
    A new slant on what we’ve been doing for years. Two themes: Small Group Work and Context Rich Problems.

    Cooperative Small Groups Problem Sheets 110
    Taking the pressure off the teacher, encouraging student learning and having fun. The Rocket Powered Sled

    Saturday Morning Science Fiction
    Tutorial Information from PHY102 112

    Incorporating insights from co-operative learning and context rich problems. The group roles (p113) were used in an attempt to bring some structure to the small groups.

    Some more Context Rich problems 114

    Various context rich problems as defined in the notes on p110. The first ones (Q1-4) represent my effort as I went through a crisis of confidence over whether we were really doing the right thing in PHYS102 in 1998. The next week (p115) things were back to abnormal. The response of the students varied from “What, we have to work with others?” “Just give me the answers” “What, we have to think!” (Apparently the tutors are supposed to do all the work) “I just want the tutors to go over the things I’m stuck on” through to enjoyment of problems that were “Interesting and challenging”. More CR problems for other topics are in the pipeline.