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Activities for a Physics Club?

  1. Feb 1, 2016 #1
    I'm pretty much in charge of a physics club that I pretty much started at my college.

    It's 16 to 18 year olds, and I need to keep them occupied for an hour.

    I will look up things to teach them but the things I find fascinating might be boring to them so it could be tough.

    If anyone has any ideas or experience I would be really grateful to hear it.

    Thank you!!

    (EDIT: I am a 16 year old also, and by college I mean sixth form college in the UK so there's not as much resources as a university)
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2016 #2
    I'm guessing you're faculty so you have an idea what resources are available. A lot depends on that. If there is an observatory at your university, or if you are a skilled amateur astronomer with a decent telescope where you can arrange for some interesting viewing, that could work.

    Interests of 16-18 year olds can vary. Is there a way to get some feedback before the first meeting.

    I saw a physics club at one school generate a lot of interest building a trebuchet, but I would have found that boring. Spud guns can be cool, but you need a place nearby to launch and there may be safety concerns. Odds are, they are getting plenty of rigor and math in their classes (hopefully), so if it were me I would focus club activities on more the cool side of things. Launching some rockets can always be on the cool side if you can manage the work flow and safety and speed of the event. A demo measuring thrust on a force place can tie it more quantitatively using an online calculator to predict trajectory from the force curve.
  4. Feb 1, 2016 #3
    Thank you for your reply! Those are some really helpful ideas.
    (Not that it's extremely important but just to clarify I am also a 16 year old, just much nerdier than average. Also by college I meant sixth form college which I think is american high school. I guess I should've specified that... anyways, thanks for the help ^-^)
  5. Feb 1, 2016 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    This book here might help you think of ideas for projects and demonstrations:

    "Thinking Physics" by Lewis Carroll Epstein: https://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Phy...d=1454364082&sr=1-1&keywords=thinking+physics

    You might take a look at it at your local library to see if the level is about right for your group. :smile:

  6. Feb 1, 2016 #5
    invite speakers and do field trips to places with cool equipment.
  7. Feb 2, 2016 #6
    Do you have an air compressor or access to one? Spud guns are fun but here's an idea that's better. It's an air compressor powered rocket launcher that will launch rockets made of paper. If you're interested I can tell you the parts you need. It shoots them good 100 feet depending on compressor, rocket and part of the build.
  8. Feb 2, 2016 #7
    My teacher said we might get funding from the school, so if we dont have one already maybe we'd get one? but yeah, that sounds good, I'd love to hear it!
  9. Feb 2, 2016 #8
    Air compressor is most expensive part but before I get you guys worked up over it, find out if anyone has access to a drill and drill bits and a set of automotive taps. If you have access to those, ask people in club if they do if not talk to automotive teacher about it. Because if you have to buy those it starts getting pricey and I would suggest other activities. It costs under $50 usd to do it if you have access to the tools and compressor. So find out if you have access to those couple tools and if you do I'll send you a parts list if not I can recommend much cheaper activities. I took for granted having access to those tools and remembered not everyone does.
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