Historic Experiments on Internet for the Secondary Educational Level
What are the Historic Experiments?
All experiments have been introduced in the past by scientists who tried to test a hypothesis. Some of them contributed to the establishment of revolutionary theories; in this way they have influenced the evolution of ideas in science and the society.
Those are the Historic Experiments.
How to create a web site about Historic Theories
A web site about Historic Theories and Experiments must have the appropriate structure, so it covers both the technical features as well as the evolution of the ideas, the personality and the sociological impact; moreover, permits the student to find easily what he/she is interested in.
The text must be simple clear and short. Each page should contain pictures, animation or simulation, with some interactivity.
An important part is the worksheets. My experience is that the students are pleased to go through educational material on Internet, but soon they become bored and lose attention. They must be encouraged through properly prepared questions to discover the satisfaction of observing physical phenomena (e.g. in a web experiment) and of controlling the events by interacting with the programs.
The educational material should be in a flexible form. It should for instance be possible to be presented in class by the teacher or to be worked out by teams of two or three students for one or two didactic periods.
Last, the school teams should be encouraged throughout the site, to try the experiment themselves in real life, if possible. Being involved in the process of reproducing an experiment is the best way to learn.
What are the benefits of Historic Experiments?
The idea of teaching elements from the History of Science and reproducing a number of Historic experiments is a way to encourage school teams in working as “researchers”. More specifically:
• Pupils get familiar with real problems and the way the pioneer researchers solved them. For example, one of the problems of Galileo, was how to measure the time. My students are surprised to hear this and are curious to learn how the problem was solved.
• The pupils get an idea of all the difficulties and contradictions around a revolutionary theory. It is important to realize that it is not easy to understand the physical phenomena; you must make a real effort and spend a lot of time in designing the experiment, taking continuous measurements and improving the apparatus used.
• The determination of the researchers inspires young people; the example of brilliant men and women, who had to prove themselves, motivates them.