Little Shop of Physics
Reported April 2007
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) -- Using combs, cones, smoke and mirrors -- combined with scientific concepts, more than 15,000 kindergarten through 12th-grade students a year learn physics can be fun when they visit Brian Jones' "Little Shop of Physics."
Brian Jones, a Colorado State University professor, has discovered how to get teens excited about science. He tells Ivanhoe, "Half of our message is what science is. We're teaching people what physics is about. But the other half, and this is just as important, is that science is really cool."
Jones' Little Shop of Physics consists of 200 experiments using common household products that spin, glow, magnetize and mesmerize, to explain everything from sound waves to riding waves.
"We have the, the Jupiter Jar here, and this is a light fixture we got at the lighting store, and a lazy Susan we got at the hardware store," Jones says.
The kids are wowed while learning. For example, spinning fog from a trashcan demonstrates a tornado spinning faster as it travels farther.
"It's pretty cool," says 13-year-old Cori Terrakra. "I have never seen anything like this."
Jones started his traveling Little Shop of Physics 16 years ago. "It's a great thing to know that you can come in for a day and expose people to something and create an understanding that they'll still have 10 years down the road. It's a remarkable thing."
He says he loves it when "the light goes on" in an eighth-grader and the lessons stick like a magnet. He's even had students in university classes who say they remember what they learned in his Little Shop of Physics.
The American Association of Physics Teachers contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.
Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:
Colorado State University
American Association of Physics Teachers
College Park, MD
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