I spent a week at the beach writing this lesson. In the first week of class, I try to get a commitment from the students to learn this quirky field of physics (get ready to go down the rabbit hole!). I also wanted students to have more of an idea of the personalities of the scientists that have been the building blocks of the ideas that they will be working with over the school year and how they REALLY come up with their ideas. Thus, this lesson was contrived...
This package includes:
1) a 19 slide lecture presentation (which includes the explanation of the assignment)
2) the sign-up sheet for the Physicists in History assignment (includes "answer key" of what each scientist is known for),
3) a sample presentation for the assignment
4) the presentation template for the students to use
This lecture sets the ground work for how science works in the real world and how the scientific method relates to theoretical physics. Science is cumulative and built on the ideas of many great minds, it is full of mistakes, it is based on simplification of complicated situations, and of course: observation, theory and prediction. This leads into the history of physics and the scientific method, discussing: Aristotle, Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and Bacon.
In the assignment, students put together a VERY short presentation about a scientist in history. This gives them a feel for richness of the minds that have built the ideas of physics. This assignment was originally designed for use at a Catholic High School and supports the ideas of the encyclical "Faith and Reason". If you do not desire to discuss scientists' religious backgrounds (as we did), you may replace that section with "Other Talents", exploring what other talents each scientist has (e.g., art, music, teaching). The files are editable.