Friday, March 11, 2016

Physics in Sixth Grade: Objects in Motion and Liquids and Gases

Objects in Motion: Principles of Classical Mechanics and Liquids and Gases: Principles of Fluid Mechanics by Paul Fleisher, part of a series called Secrets of the Universe

These two books are recommended by Mater Amabilis for sixth grade, Level 3 Year 1. (Two of Fleisher's other Secrets of the Universe books are recommended for seventh grade.)

First Son read and narrated these books to me. Concepts of physics are clearly explained and illustrated by the author. The prevalence of inverse square laws, for example, is discussed in Objects in Motion. Using intensity of light as an example, the author shows clearly why so many intensive of force laws are inverse square laws. As the radius of a sphere of area covered by the same light is doubled, the amount of equal light is distributed across an area four times as large.
Picture each force spreading outward from its source like an ever-expanding bubble. Inverse square relationships hold true for all these forces because they all spread out evenly in all directions from the center point at which they are generated.
Many thought experiments and suggestions for demonstrations at home are included. Nearly all of the demonstrations are simple to put together with items you are likely to have on hand. Some of the demonstrations take longer than others. First Son, with First Daughter's assistance, spent the better part of an afternoon taking measurements of pendulums of different weights and different lengths.

The books end with an invitation to students to appreciate the complexity and beauty of the universe, and to keep learning.
Scientists believe that our universe was first created billions of years ago in a huge explosion they call the big bang. The same motion first created in the big bang is still with us today, spread among the vast number of stars, planets, atoms, and atomic particles moving and spinning through the cosmos.
We don't know all there is to know about the universe. Scientists still have much to learn about the stars and planets, the atom, and the miracles of life. There are still more laws to discover and more mysteries to solve. Perhaps you may one day add your name to that distinguished list of scientists who have helped to discover the secrets of the universe.
Each book contains a timeline of scientific discoveries (some general and some specific to the book's topic), biographies of scientists mentioned in the text, books for further reading, a bibliography, and a glossary.

I enjoyed these books and look forward to reading two more of them next year. (Hopefully First Son is as well.)

The italic print: Links to Amazon are affiliate links. As an affiliate with Amazon, I receive a small commission if you follow one of my links, add something to your cart, and complete the purchase (in that order). I like to use the little I earn on the blog to purchase birthday and Christmas gifts (so they'll really be from me because the kids say I don’t have any money). I purchased these books used.

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