Using Physics Gadgets and Gizmos, Grades 9-12: Phenomenon-Based Learning

by: Matthew Bobrowsky, Mikko Korhonen, and Jukka Kohtamäki

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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

Download a sample chapter

Grade Levels

High School Middle School


Assessment Curriculum Informal Education Inquiry Instructional Materials Lesson Plans Physical Science Teacher Preparation Teaching Strategies


Type NSTA Press BookPub Date 3/1/2014Pages 169ISBN 978-1-936959-36-5Stock # PB345X1

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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