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Need ideas for Physics

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I don't have specifics on physics, but I can sat that what has opened the most doors for my DD was getting out there with adults. Do you have a local university that would have the guest lecturers who come in for symposia with students? That is the sort of thing where, once DD was there and started talking to people, began opening doors for her, and that opened more, and it's just mushroomed from there.


It's kind of a "If you give a mouse a cookie" situation. Getting that first person who takes your child seriously is a big hump-but I've been amazed at what has happened, largely because I was willing to show up at adult events with a 6-7 yr old who was dying to learn more about snakes.

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I just wrote this up yesterday.  My older boy did a conceptual, high-school level physics class at 10.  We had a lot of fun:



He read and studied the *entire* The Way Things Work.  This took around 6 months.

He read every modern physics/astronomy article we could find in Scientific American going back a decade.

He read 3 biographies on Galileo and Faraday and The Wright Brothers


Documentaries - lots.  He was really into them back then.

Light Fantastic, The Way Things Work, Modern Marvels (engineering), and a few more



He worked with a pretty good Electronics Kit

He also played around with a Thames and Kosmos Mechanic kit, but did not really like it



He did an awesome investigation on How does the angle of attack affect the flight time of a kite depending on the wind speed? This investigation took about 2 months and was HARD!  yikes.


Found this on the board, describing a bit of it:

My son did a science fair project on kites and the aerodynamics of flight at age 10. YIKES. I am not a physicist and I will tell you I did not have a clue. But, ok I will give it a go. 4 weeks later, we still did not have a flying kite, the science fair was in 6 weeks, and we had not even started the experimental part of altering different parts of the bridal and flight height etc. What was wrong? We tried everything it seemed - changing the materials of the kite, changing the way we launched it, changing what wind speed we flew it at, every single thing we could think of. And of course the kite kept breaking when it would crash instead of fly. So we had to reconstruct it over and over and over. And I kept saying the the Wright brothers took 4 years of long hard work and their own money to get an airplane to fly (my son had just done a report on them, which sparked his interest in this project). The lessons every day seemed to be about persistence. Edison tried 2000 different filaments before he got a working light bulb. Persistence. And I kept thinking, how are we going to get this done in time? Then, we just happened to run across the issue of the wind shadow. The height of a tree will disrupt the air flow across a field for 10 times the height of the tree. The field we were using was HUGE, but long in the wrong direction for the regular wind direction so that all of it was in a wind shadow. The kite would not fly because the wind was turbulent. We changed fields. The kite flew. WOW! What a lesson to a budding scientist. I don't think he will ever forget it.




It was a really good year, and he has had not an ounce of trouble doing Knights College Physics in 8th.



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I second the going to events. That is how my son got started with his environmentalism. We took a car pool with a local non profit to the nearest big city for a testimony hearing. A teacher gave my son his speaking time at the podium for one of the last slots. As soon as my son spoke his two minutes people began paying attention. Hasn't stopped since. If he is truly excited and serious about it, get him out there and people will notice.


There are quite a few physics Great Courses.


Apparently there is a Physics Bowl competition? http://www.aapt.org/Programs/PhysicsBowl/


AoPS also has a page of links for competitions. http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Wiki/index.php/Physics_competitions


I do not know if that helps! Good luck. Fair Warning: our homeschool has never been the same since Ds decided to start saving the world. Be careful what you wish for.

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We're going to work from Ruth's suggested reading for physics next year, along with Secrets of the Universe stuff from Paul Fleisher (a la our Ambleside Online work), Exploration Education, and some working model engines.  And a DK book on Light, which may be redundant but A. is very interested in the electromagnetic spectrum at the moment. 


My hope-to-add includes the snap circuits electronics curriculum (this book is not the same as the project manuals, it teaches theory) and some aeronautics stuff -- maybe pulling from Civil Air Patrol materials for middle or high school -- these would be the first two listed "curriculum materials" in that link, with perhaps more rocketry though there are problems doing it safely here.  But that's probably a reach for one year of physics, in our house at least. 


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Hi, Sorry if I missed it, but you haven't mentioned your son's age. How old is he? Last year my daughter was taking some free on-line courses at coursera.org. A lot of them are college level or high school but there are a lot to choose from. There is an Australian group who does some courses also. Is he interested in a particular field: electricity, mechanics, energy or just general?

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Not sure how old or advanced your child is, but Guest Hollow has a pretty good list of Physics books. My kids have all LOVED the KNex kits that would go along with physics. My oldest is obsessed with physics too and I find it funny because that was the one science I avoided in high school.

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