Slow Thinking Physics

This is a call to slow, deliberative, thinking about teaching physics. (If it really was easy to make progress then many of the smart people I know would have figured it out long ago.)

Making progress requires making subtle judgements, based on evidence, but unlikely to be determined solely by the research evidence available, is reliant on a courteous translation of the physics, adapting it appropriately for learners, and is not likely to be a quick fire process.

sequencing physics


catching physics


picture books


Falling Home


Underpinning everything

Physics is more than anything an attitude: a style of enquiry. Here is an account of physics, matched to thinking about learning physics.

thinking like a physicist


Authoring physics

These pages are written using the physics markup language, as was Supporting Physics Teaching , and the same technology renders the content at Spark.iop.org. Diagrams created using the physics diagram language.

wrangling diagrams


wrangling words


What's happening

As of January 2021, the Images, Resonances, Echoes email newsletter will be more of an updater, and maybe less than once a month. There will be less substantive content, which will instead be here.

Several of the themes addressed in 2020 have been rewritten here. The old versions will remain, but the links to diagrams from those are likely not to work.

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The why...

Teaching physics, supporting teaching physics: thinking about teaching physics; supporting thinking about teaching physics. These are things I’ve been up to for several decades, and I’m not quite ready to give up yet.

So, based entirely on a personal / eclectic take on research evidence and insights, on conversations with teachers, researchers and developers, on careful thinking about physics, this newsletter will contain blend some carefully crafted narratives to suggest ways in which physics could (should?) be taught, and some resources to show how that might work.

It’s also a call to slow, deliberative, thinking about teaching physics: if it really was easy to make progress then many of the smart people I know would have figured it out long ago. And maybe, just maybe, there will evolve a responsive community around this newsletter, or the existence of the newsletter may kickstart one. (Third time lucky? I was an efficient cause for both TalkPhysics.org, and the email distribution list PTNC). It is, if you like, a response to the “what next?” question after being centrally involved in “Advancing Physics” and “SupportingPhysicsTeaching” in the UK, and not being minded to write material that’s inaccessible behind paywalls (aka Academic Journals).