How to Teach Physical Effects in Game Manner

Gregory Frenklach


The aim of the game is to refresh the knowledge of students about physical effects. I taught it in Byelorussia (former USSR) and then in Israel, when I worked in Jerusalem College of Technology. At the very beginning I taught this as a small improvement of the Catalog Method which made this method better for technological problems' solving. Then I had understood that it would be more useful to use this idea as the game-teaching method for topic "Physical (chemical) effects and phenomena in problem solving."

If you tried to teach such a boring topic as "Using of physical effects in inventive problems solving" (especially if your audience were teenagers) you had problems. On one hand - they need to know effects to solve problems and on the other hand they don't want to... The only way, in my opinion, in such condition is to study effects in playful manner. And Catalog's Method (other name is "Focal Objects' Method") is fit to meet this aim.

Methodology of the game.

  1. Choose an object, for example, "refrigerator"
  2. As "accidental" objects are chosen: air, water, iron etc. -- in other words the objects which are connected with a maximal quantity of physical effects, used in inventive problem solving.
  3. Choose the properties or qualities of these "accidental" objects, and the actions that are connected with the objects’ transformation, using different physical effects. For example:
    1. air - under pressure, ionized etc.
    2. water - frozen, dissolved, evaporated etc. and so on.

In order to make the process of the generation of properties easier you can remind the students that substances could be in solid, liquid, gas and plasma stage and that we can use mechanical, thermal, electrical, magnetic energy in order to transform the substances.

  1. Once you have got any property generated by students you have "legal right" (by the rules of the game) to tell about effects connected with this property and give examples of using these effects in problems' solving.
  2. The properties of the "accidental" objects are connected with our object (for example: ionized refrigerator) and ideas are generated...Of course, the idea generation is secondary objective in this game, but without this step students will not enjoy the game.

So try it! Good Luck!