What to show in 10 minutes to high schools kids?

  • #1
Hi!

I´m studying to be physics teacher for high school and being in the relativity course, next week we will have the opportunity to show to high school kids something about what relativity is about.

Any idea about what to show to them in 10 minutes?

Thanks!
 

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  • #2
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Hi!

I´m studying to be physics teacher for high school and being in the relativity course, next week we will have the opportunity to show to high school kids something about what relativity is about.

Any idea about what to show to them in 10 minutes?

Thanks!
As relativity is mainly about the absence of a unique frame, I would choose the light clock to demonstrate what this means. That should take the ten minutes.

Another idea (plan B) is to describe the Michelson-Morley experiment. This anecdote here: https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/science-jokes-p2.847743/page-31#post-6009757 could be an entry or a finish.

Plan C: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse_of_August_21,_1914
 
  • #3
As relativity is mainly about the absence of a unique frame, I would choose the light clock to demonstrate what this means. That should take the ten minutes.

Another idea (plan B) is to describe the Michelson-Morley experiment. This anecdote here: https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/science-jokes-p2.847743/page-31#post-6009757 could be an entry or a finish.

Plan C: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse_of_August_21,_1914
Thanks.

There is no "practical" experiment about relativity?
I think something about magnetism it is, but you need to explain first lenght contraction and there is not good reason to think it as a relativistic thing instead of classical magnetism idea.
 
  • #4
Grinkle
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There is no "practical" experiment about relativity?
There are numerous YouTube videos where folks claim to nutshell relativity in some short amount of time. You might Google and watch some for ideas on approach.

I would definitely include a mention that GPS requires relativistic effects being accounted for in order to be accurate.

One thing that kept my interest early on was wanting to understand how two folks passing one another could each see the others clock moving slowly and both be correct. It took me (much) longer than 10 minutes to understand that, but having the conundrum introduced to me along with some discussion of easily understandable experimental evidence that relativity is confirmed and not just an abstract idea kept me coming back for more.

10 minutes to introduce relativity to a high school class sounds like a fun challenge - good luck!!
 
  • #5
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Do you have a Q&A period, and if so is it part of the ten-minute time budget?

You could start with Michaelson-Morley to support a proof by emphatic assertion (any ten-minute presentation is going to require at least one such proof) that the speed of light is the same for everyone. Follow that with the classic "if I'm moving at .5c and I shine a flashlight out front" paradox, resolve it with the relativistic velocity addition law, and one example (missile fired from supersonic jet fighter) of why we never notice.

That's somewhat off the beaten path for intro relativity discussions, but it has the advantage of being completely self-contained and fitting into ten minutes.
 
  • #7
robphy
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  • #8
Thanks guys.

I googled without succes. I´ll see now those you posted.
Yes, if I receive a WOW! was enough no matter they do not understand completely the idea. But I need something that makes them really feels there exists something weird, not just my word saying time or lenghts are shorter for ones than for others.

I´ll write later after see those videos at least.
 
  • #9
Grinkle
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I googled ‘relativity explained in 2 minutes’ and these came up. I haven’t watched them, just fwiw.
 
  • #10
PeroK
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Hi!

I´m studying to be physics teacher for high school and being in the relativity course, next week we will have the opportunity to show to high school kids something about what relativity is about.

Any idea about what to show to them in 10 minutes?

Thanks!
I would use the 10 minutes to explain that you can't learn anything in 10 minutes. And that if they want to tackle anything in life they need to be prepared to put in the time and effort.
 
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  • #11
berkeman
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I would use the 10 minutes to explain that you can't learn anything in 10 minutes.
LOL :oldbiggrin:
 
  • #13
Mister T
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Hi!

I´m studying to be physics teacher for high school and being in the relativity course, next week we will have the opportunity to show to high school kids something about what relativity is about.

Any idea about what to show to them in 10 minutes?

Thanks!
Do the demonstration where a magnet is moved into and out of a coil of wire, and a meter connected to the coil, shows that electricity flows in the coil. Then show the same effect by instead moving the coil. Prior to Einstein, those two were seen as separate effects, whereas Einstein showed that they are the same.
 
  • #14
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Any idea about what to show to them in 10 minutes?
Thanks!
You could show them the videos in this message.
 

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