Follow

operations

  • Demonstration Orders for the Fall Semester

    Dear Physics Faculty: Welcome to Fall 2018! We look forward to assisting you with your demonstration needs this semester and helping you to make your classes exciting and interactive.

    As we prepare for the fall semester, please remember we do need adequate time to prepare your demonstrations and ensure there are no conflicts between orders. For morning classes, please have orders in before 1:00 PM of the previous day; for afternoon classes, before 4:00 AM the day of the class. The order system will not be able to process your orders after this time. The demonstrations order forms can be found under “Demonstration Services” on our website, or through this mobile shortcut page.

    If your class is outside the John S. Toll Physics Building, please get in touch with us one to two days in advance if possible so we can make arrangements for the materials to be packed so you or your TA can pick them up and return them in PHY0402.

    We are happy to work with you to ensure that you have everything you need. As the university grows, we're all looking forward to an exciting new semester!

    – The Lecture-Demonstration Team

     

    pdd photo oluchi lncloud

  • How many demonstrations?

    We’re often asked how many demonstrations we have in the collection. That’s a more complex question than it might at first seem.

    Filling up the space

    At last count, we have just over 1,500 demonstrations published to the website – that is, that’s how many demonstration pages exist in the collection. But some pages describe a single setup than can be used in several different ways. Take a look at K2-61: Thomson’s Coil, for example. This single page actually describes four different, related demonstrations that can be performed with this device. They don’t require very different equipment to be delivered, just slight changes in preparation, though, and they’re usually all relevant at approximately the same point in a syllabus, so it’s simpler to list them all in one place. Conversely, there are many demonstrations that use the Optical Board – browse through section L and you will see many of them! Since ray optics is divided into several sections in the demonstrations catalog, each of the configurations of the Optical Board is listed separately, to make it easier to find the one you need; and if you’re only doing one demonstration with it, we can configure it for you in advance to save you time in class.

    On the other hand, consider M1-12 and H2-22. These are both listings for Interference Transparencies, a popular way to illustrate the interaction of wavefronts. Here, we made the unusual decision to list the same demonstration twice in two different sections, since otherwise someone planning a course on sound might not think to look for relevant demonstrations in the optics section, and vice-versa. These occasional cross-references make it easier to find the demonstrations you need for your class.

    And even aside from the demonstration listings as they stand, we’re often called on to combine equipment in unique ways to demonstrate something new! If it’s a combination that’s likely to be repeated or that proves useful to others, it will be added to the website, but we’re generally open to creatively reinterpreting demonstrations to fit a new class context.

    Every year we add more demonstrations to the collection; and occasionally a demonstration is retired, if it no longer meets an instructional need or has been superseded by others. So defining just how many demonstrations we have might not be the right question to ask. Ask, rather, what can we demonstrate for you today?

  • On the Choosing of Demonstrations

    D4 22L6 10A1 02

    There are more than one thousand demonstrations in our collection. For any given topic, there could be several that are relevant to what you want to teach. How do you choose which demonstration or demonstrations are the right choice for your class?

    The Lecture Demonstration staff are always happy to talk over the options and provide recommendations, of course! Here are some of the issues we consider when making recommendations, or that you can consider when making selections.

    1. Clear topical relevance: Obviously, every physics demonstration really can show many aspects of physics – they are all physical objects, after all! But each has some particular aspect of physical principles it is designed to highlight. While it can certainly be used in other ways as well, it can require more advance planning to make sure that what you want to show is clear to your audience.
    2. Conceptual complexity: Who are you teaching, and how much background do they have? How deeply do you want to delve in your explanations? Some demonstrations are well suited to giving a brief, simple explanation of a concept. Others are more appropriate for extended discussion and analysis, perhaps with extended mathematical calculations. Still others can be used in a variety of ways, perhaps with or without various accessories to change how the demonstration is presented.
    3. Time requirements: Some demonstrations can be presented very quickly in class, serving as a brief and clear illustration of a concept. Others need more time, either to explain and analyze as mentioned above; or simply more time to operate – some demonstrations involve processes that take place over time (such as the ever-popular M7-31: Tyndall’s Experiment, showing the changes in the scattering of light over the course of a chemical reaction, or P2-01: Photoelectric Effect and Planck’s Constant, which requires taking several measurements at different wavelengths before you can carry out the calculation). Sometimes, when one demonstration will take too much time for you, we may be able to recommend a substitute that will illustrate the same or a similar point more quickly.
    4. Presentation and logistical needs: Some demonstrations work best in large rooms for a large audience; others are more suited to small groups that can gather around to see it, or interact hands-on. Sometimes classes are taught in the Physics Lecture Halls where extended preparation space is available and we can spend an hour or more before your class setting up and calibrating the demonstration, while other times a class can only use demonstrations that can be rolled in quickly on a cart between class periods, or even need demonstrations that can be carried across campus by hand. Some instructors and some students may have different comfort levels with noise or messiness or the need for safety equipment. And all of these are fine things! We try to the best of our ability to make sure that the demonstrations we deliver are appropriate to the faculty and students we serve, wherever they may be.

    When we’re helping you select a demonstration, we may ask you about some of these things, or make predictions based on the class you’re teaching. We do our best to provide the demonstration that suits your needs for any situation.

  • Remote Teaching Resources

    It’s a hectic time for teaching, and our circumstances change every day. Fortunately, there are resources out there to help with making an online class engaging and informative.

    UMD’s Keep Teaching #4Maryland site offers links to university resources for instructors, including ELMS tips, Labster simulated experiments, and library resources. Check it out at https://svp.umd.edu/keepteaching.

    UMD IT also offers a catalog of resources for teaching and learning; check it out here!

    Here at the Physics Lecture-Demonstration Facility, we’re compiling additional resources to help with remote and distanced learning.

    • We have begun creating animated Teaching Aids to help explicate popular demonstrations and other important aspects of physics; as we post them you can find them linked on the individual demonstration pages and on the Teaching Aids gallery page.

    • We are compiling a Directory of Simulations from elsewhere on the web as well, with tested simulations for many categories of physics, including some very difficult to demonstrate in the classroom. Check them out here!

    • And don’t forget to explore this very blog for Demonstration Highlights that may include videos, simulations, and at-home activities; and News Tips with recent events in science. Every blog post also has topical tags to link you to other related articles in the blog.

    • UPDATE 10/1/2020: Be sure to check out our new Demonstration Videos channel!

     

    Some additional articles and websites with tips:

  • Summer Hiatus

    Hi! We're on a brief hiatus for the summer while we reorganize the office; back soon!

  • Welcome to Fall 2019!

    Welcome to Fall 2019! We look forward to assisting you with your demonstration needs this semester and helping you to make your classes exciting and interactive.

    As we prepare for the fall semester, please remember we do need adequate time to prepare your demonstrations and ensure there are no conflicts between orders. For morning classes, please have orders in before 1:00 PM of the previous working day; for afternoon classes, before 4:00 AM the day of the class. If your class is outside the John S. Toll Physics Building, please get in touch with us one to two days in advance if possible so we can make arrangements for the materials to be packed so you or your TA can pick them up and return them in PHY0402.

    There have been many changes to spaces and schedules this semester; be sure to check in with us when planning. Also, be on the lookout for some new innovations in demonstrations and the website coming up later this year!

    We are happy to work with you to ensure that you have everything you need. We're all looking forward to an exciting new semester!

    QofW

     

  • Welcome to Fall 2021!

    Welcome to Fall 2021 at UMD Physics!

    The Lecture-Demonstration Facility is off to a running start, and we look forward to working with you for your demonstration needs this semester.

    Be sure to explore our new online resources as well, including the demonstration videos channel, LecDem blog, and the directory of simulations.

    If you have any questions about finding the right demonstrations or other resources for your class, be sure to call or email.

    Please remember to order your demonstrations before the cutoff deadline for the order form system: For morning classes, before 1PM the previous working day; for afternoon classes, before 4AM the day of the class. Where possible, we appreciate having the orders at least one full working day ahead, to ensure plenty of time to make sure everything is ready for you.

     

  • Welcome to Spring 2020

    A model eyeball demonstration asks: Do you have 2020 vision?

    Welcome to the Spring 2020 semester! We're looking forward to assisting you with your physics class demonstration needs this year.

    You can learn about demonstrations through the demonstration index here on our website; both the demonstrations and the order forms can be found in the Demonstration Services menu. Be sure also to check out some of our new and revised demonstrations, here in the blog and on the demo pages.

    The order form has been updated this year! Please remember to order your demonstrations before the cutoff deadline for the order form system: For morning classes, before 1PM the previous working day; for afternoon classes, before 4AM the day of the class. We are happy to meet with you to plan and review demonstrations; call or email us to set up a time to meet.

    We have some exciting outreach programs coming up this season! In February, we'll be presenting a Physics is Phun program, The Physics of Fantastic Worlds; and a Discovery Day program, Quantum Kids. More programs will follow later in the spring, culminating with Maryland Day, which this year will include both our famous liquid nitrogen ice cream and another Physics is Phun presentation.

    We would love to have more faculty, staff, and students involved in demo-related outreach activities. If you have an idea or want to participate in spring outreach or summer programs, please let us know.