How we use Physics Review Magazine to teach A-level Physics effectively

Woodhouse College

Senior Tutor, Wood House College, Barnet

 "I find Physics Review a really good resource. It can be difficult to get good resources as a physics teacher, so I am really grateful for it.”

"My students did well in the 2018 exams. Usually between 60 and 70% of our students get an A* to B in Physics, sometimes more. When looking for classroom resources for Physics students, we try to find resources that help to strengthen their literacy skills, as their course does not require them to read or write a lot.

I find that the style of Physics Review is good for getting students used to longer questions. A lot of the new exam papers have extended questions, meaning that STEM students need to get used to dealing with lots of text on the page. Whereas previously the question would have been only one or two lines long, they are now five or six lines of text with data and diagrams.

The students also use the ‘at a glance’ feature of the magazine – recently I found a good one on quarks which goes into a bit more detail than the textbook. We often set articles from Physics Review as homework with comprehension questions, or in the last fifteen minutes of the lesson I will either give the students a one or two page article to read and make up some questions to ask their neighbour, or set the class a Q&A covering some of the topics in the article.

Sometimes I read Physics Review online in Dynamic Learning and use it in lesson planning – reading it can be inspiring. For example, I was recently planning a lesson on moments, and I was reading an article in the magazine about forces and moments on a basketball, which I then used in a lesson. I found it more of a contemporary example than some of the exam questions – often they use something like a shopping trolley, or an old-fashioned weapon, as an example, but I found the Physics Review article gave me an idea or two for a new way of talking about something in a lesson. I’d never applied moments to a basketball hoop before.

I find the working questions are quite detailed; reading them is almost like having a teacher there. When students look at the exam mark scheme, it gives them the bare bones to get the marks, but the magazine gives them the commentary as well. If you read it out, it would almost be like a script. To me, that feels more like how you would explain it as a teacher."