blog news

  • STEM News Tip: Children Learning About Gears

    This week we’re introducing a new feature of the blog: STEM News Tips. Every week we’ll be bringing you short introductions to recent publications and current events in physics, physics education, and adjacent fields.

     This week, we’re checking out a new paper from Timo Reuter and Miriam Leuchter in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. ( In Children's concepts of gears and their promotion through play, Reuter &Leuchter surveyed how young people came to understand a simple machine through hands-on interaction. Interactive and experiential learning is a vital part of modern STEM education, and something we try to promote through our demonstrations and programs.

     The relationship between turning direction, turning speed, and the arrangement and size of interacting gears is a basic concept in introductory mechanics. Before students can truly comprehend the mathematics of force and torque, they need to have an intuitive familiarity with how such objects interact in the real world. It’s valuable to take a look at how young children begin to grasp these concepts years before they come to high school and university physics classrooms.

     Check out the article here!


  • Welcome!

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    Hello, readers! Welcome to the new Physics Lecture Demonstration Facility News Page and Blog!

    What can you expect to find here? All sorts of things! We’ll be updating regularly with the latest news on our demonstrations and outreach activities. In between, we’ll have articles about demonstrations and how to use them in class, physics news and history, and interesting new articles about science education.


    Some upcoming highlights to watch for in the coming weeks:


    * Introductions to the newest demonstrations in the facility, with tips on using them in class to spark classroom engagement


    * News from the UMD Physics Summer Programs


    * An appreciation celebrating the 100th birthday of NASA scientist Katherine Johnson, and other interesting facets of physics history


    * Resources on science in recent films, and ways to use such material in the classroom



    If you have a topic you’d like to see us cover, let us know! Tweet @LecDemFacility or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


    Also, we are inviting guest posts from the UMD Physics community. If there’s something you’d like to write about, get in touch with us to discuss topics and guidelines. We’d love to have the opportunity to share your thoughts.


    We have a long and exciting journey ahead, so we hope you’ll join us and check back every week for the latest from the Physics Lecture Demonstration Facility News Page and Blog.