Presenting Physics Content and Fostering Creativity in Physics among Less-Academically Inclined Students through a Simple Design-Based Toy Project

Presenting Physics Content and Fostering Creativity in Physics among Less-Academically Inclined Students through a Simple Design-Based Toy Project

Nazir Amir (Greenview Secondary School, Singapore) and R. Subramaniam (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 40
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6375-6.ch007

Abstract

One of the emphases of 21st century science education is in producing students who are creative and who can contribute to the economy. Physics affords immense scope in this regard. This study illustrates an instructional teaching approach to present the physics concepts of density and forces in liquids to kinesthetic students and, at the same time, offers an avenue to foster creativity among them through the fabrication of variants of a popular physics toy: the Cartesian diver. It was conducted during curriculum time in a physics laboratory. Results showed that the students were able to showcase their creative abilities through knowledge from physics in this design-based toy project. Students found the pedagogical approach suitable for learning physics content and also a fun way to showcase their creative abilities through knowledge from physics. They also developed positive attitudes towards studying physics after going through this project.
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1. Introduction

In Sir Ken Robinson’s lecture on the need to nurture creativity among students in order to meet the demands of the 21st century economy, he reminded educators that approaches to foster creativity among students is as equally necessary as teaching the subject content to them.

My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status. Robinson (2006)

Examining the definitions of creativity in the works of Barlex (2007), Christensen, (1988), Guilford (1959), Robinson (2006), Spendlove (2005) and Torrance (1966; 1974), it is clear that it has to do with coming up with something original or novel and of value. The studies of Amabile (1982; 1988; 1996), Besemer (2010), Craft (2001), Cropley & Cropley (2010), Cziksentmihalyi (1998), Dacey & Lennon (2000), Feldman, Cziksentmihalyi & Gardner (1994), Rhyammer & Brolin (1999), and Vernon (1989) suggest that a way for physics teachers to promote creativity in the classroom is by guiding pupils through problem-solving contexts that are embedded in everyday life and which leverage on subject knowledge. The process of fostering creativity in physics amongst students can sharpen their skills in problem-solving, get them to be more inquisitive about how physics can be used to improve daily activities, and build up their confidence into thinking about how its use may value-add to the economy (Fisher, 2004, and Raviv, 2003). It could also instill the spirit of innovation among students and pave a path for them to be young inventors of our future.

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