PLU - May 2023

Using Physics Gadgets and Gizmos, Grades 9-12: Phenomenon-Based Learning (e-Book)

What student—or teacher—can resist the chance to experiment with Rocket Launchers, Drinking Birds, Dropper Poppers, Boomwhackers, Flying Pigs, and more? The 54 experiments in Using Physics Gadgets and Gizmos, Grades 9–12, encourage your high school students to explore a variety of phenomena involved with pressure and force, thermodynamics, energy, light and color, resonance, buoyancy, two-dimensional motion, angular momentum, magnetism, and electromagnetic induction.
The authors say there are three good reasons to buy this book:
1. To improve your students’ thinking skills and problem-solving abilities
2. To acquire easy-to-perform experiments that engage students in the topic
3. To make your physics lessons waaaaay more cool

The phenomenon-based learning (PBL) approach used by the authors—two Finnish teachers and a U.S. professor—is as educational as the experiments are attention-grabbing. Instead of putting the theory before the application, PBL encourages students to first experience how the gadgets work and then grow curious enough to find out why. Students engage in the activities not as a task to be completed but as exploration and discovery.
The idea is to help your students go beyond simply memorizing physics facts. Using Physics Gadgets and Gizmos can help them learn broader concepts, useful critical-thinking skills, and science and engineering practices (as defined by the Next Generation Science Standards). And—thanks to those Boomwhackers and Flying Pigs—both your students and you will have some serious fun.

For more information about hands-on materials for Using Physics Gadgets and Gizmos, visit Arbor Scientific at

Table of Contents

About the Authors

An Introduction to Phenomenon-Based Learning

To the Student

To the Teacher

PBL in Finland

Authors’ Use of Gadgets and Gizmos

Safety Notes


1 Pressure and Force

Pressure Power

It’s a Hold-Up!

Prism Pressure

Pressure Globe

Water Rocket

Web Resources

Relevant Standards

2 Laws of Thermodynamics


Pressure Plunge

Fire Syringe

Drinking Bird

Running Hot and C

Web Resources

Relevant Standards

3 Energy

Energy on Wheels

Dancing Disc

Hot Shot

Radiant Rotation

Magnetic Accelerator

Happy / Unhappy Balls

Dropper Popper


Web Resources

Relevant Standards

4 Visible Light and Colors


Adding and Subtracting Colors

Combining Colors

Web Resources

Relevant Standards

5 Resonance

Standing Wave


Singing Rods

Music Box

Sound Pipe

Web Resources

Relevant Standards

6 Bouyancy

Cartesian Diver

Galileo’s Thermometer

Mix It Up

Solar Bag

Rock the Boat

Web Resources

Relevant Standards

7 Two-Dimensional Motion

Race to the Bottom

Ejector Seat

Need for Speed

Launch and Land

Web Resources

Relevant Standards

8 Angular Momentum

Speed Spinning

Propeller Puzzle


Wobbly Top

Perpetual Top

Web Resources

Relevant Standards

9 Magnetism

Point the Way

Magnets in Motion

All Encompassing

World's Simplest Motor


Web Resources

Relevant Standards

10 Electromagnetic Induction

Eddy Oddity

Shake & Shine


Web Resources

Relevant Standards

11 More Fun

Wind Bag

Doppler Ball


Fun Fly Stick

Energy Ball

Flying Pig

Web Resources

Relevant Standards


How to Order the Gadgets and Gizmos




Type e-book (PDF)Pub Date 3/1/2014Pages 169ISBN 978-1-938946-62-2Stock # PKEB345X1

NSTA Press produces classroom-ready activities, hands-on approaches to inquiry, relevant professional development, the latest scientific education news and research, assessment and standards-based instruction.

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