Physics either elicits groans of despair or unrestrained enthusiasm. Its mathematical underpinnings frighten the diligent student and its abstractions delight those who look for a grand design in all of nature. Physics is one of those “hard sciences” that schools successfully squeeze all the joy out of, and unless handled by an inspired teacher, can become quite a bogey for children. Its deep linkages to mathematics and its foundational relationship to chemistry and engineering make it a necessary science to grasp if students want to go into higher studies in any of these areas. One of the reasons so many of us find the subject so difficult is that physics seems to be about finding logical explanations for both the large and the small phenomena in the natural world – phenomena that the rest of us may be comfortable leaving to the imagination. Physicists seek an explanation for why things are the way they are, taking the “why” and “how” questions to the most basic level.
Unlike the bells and whistles of the chemistry laboratory, practical work in physics can be tedious and often dull, except for the occasional twang of a tuning fork or a refraction experiment that reveals the colours of a rainbow. But it does not need to be so. As with our other subject-specific issues, this time Teacher Plus tries to offer a different take on physics teaching, showing how it can connect with our everyday lives, with issues of environment and natural resource management, even with that national pastime, cricket!
Contributions came from many individuals across the country, from teachers of physics as well as other closely allied subjects. In the process of curating and sourcing articles, the Teacher Plus team had the help of Subha Das Mollick, a science teacher who injects a great deal of enthusiasm into her lessons and Partha Bandhopadhyay, a retired professor of physics, both from Kolkata. The result is a magazine packed with ideas and examples for you to apply in your own classrooms. And, as we have found time and again with special issues, we always end up with more ideas and articles than we can accommodate in the space of 120 pages. A wider selection appears on our website, and we urge readers to take a look at those articles as well. Tell us how you use these ideas and bring us more of your own, too!