VECTORS for Victors

Another School year has started, time for a fresh start. For this semester, I am assigned as a Grade 12 teacher to handle General Physics 1 subject of the STEM students of the Ilocos Sur National High School Senior High School. Ahhh! Finally, I can teach pure Physics. It’s not a relief because I feel that there are still so much to learn about teaching this subject and it is really a challenge to make content relevant to the learners and make Physics interesting in itself.
Often, I hear many people how much they hate Physics because of its mathematics. I for one, when I was in high school hated Physics for the same reason. But when I started to learn better about the concepts, I realized that Physics is making sense of mathematics and that it is a an integral part in unlocking the secrets of the universe. That is why, I understand if students don’t feel comfortable whenever they encounter the subject, somehow Physics has gained a negative reputation of being a difficult subject and that if you are not mathematically inclined person , you are doomed. This is the very reason that I decided to get a degree in Physics , to give students an opportunity to see the maths in action, and hopefully they will give physics another chance to prove that there is nothing to fear, only amazing adventures  waiting to unfold.

As an introductory activity for the subject, I decided to give students an experience of a lifetime…a chance to go back to their childhood, treasure hunting.

This activity will measure their capabilities in many introductory topics in Physics:

  • Measurements
  • Precision and Accuracy
  • Vectors

That is why I thought it will be perfect venue to integrate this game into the lessons plus there will be a chance for students to collaborate and exchange ideas.

The students were grouped and they had two tasks: (1) to prepare a treasure map and bury a treasure (sweets) for the groups to look for and , (2) to look for a treasure using a map prepared by others. But here’s the catch, the map shall only consist of 5 vectors which they measure through meter sticks and compasses.

Sample treasure map.
They found it!
How a bout you ladies?
Groups starting at their point of origin
Sample map

Others chose to solve things analytically instead of following the map.
Exploring the entire field for treasures.
How’s your hunting guys?
Go guys!
Literally digging for treasures! ­čśé
Ahoooy! Found it!
Savoring the taste of victory.

After this activity, I introduced addition of vectors and they found an easier way to solve the problem. More advanced students were able to figure this technique along the way while other went whinnig about how they enured the sourching sun and wished they knew it earlier. It’s a fun activity and I am sure that they all can add vectors as shown by their performance in the quiz, contextualization is indeed a key role in understanding of concepts.

With all these experiences for this activity, I can say that the topic of vectors has made every student a victor; a champion of perseverance and excellence. Good job guys!


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