The lessons in this unit were developed by teachers at Souhegan High School for junior/senior level Physics classes, to be taught during the first trimester of the 2016-17 school year. It includes 5-10 lessons that culminate in students demonstrating their ability to find meaning in complex text and incorporate key ideas of modern physics by completing the final creative writing project.

Modern physics is a very broad topic. We will be focusing on three of the main pillars of modern physics — special relativity, general relativity, and quantum theory. The goal of the unit it to have students use the concepts of modern physics accurately in a creative way and increase their willingness and confidence to learn more about the subjects beyond high school. Modern physics is intimidating to the general public. We hope to spark students interest and have students realize that they can make sense out of the counter intuitive model of reality.

Each topic will be broken into several phases of understanding:

Limitations of classical physics
Key principle that led to modern physics
Models for describing modern physics
Predictions and experiments that support and provide evidence for modern physics theories

The students will explore the phases by using inquiry-based reading. They will explore an anchor text for meaning while looking for where it addresses the four phases above. Students will then perform additional research and apply what they have learned in class to create their final project.
Physical Science
High School
Grade 11, Grade 12
Material Type:
Lesson Plan, Reading, Unit of Study
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Date Added:
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
Media Format:
Graphics/Photos, Text/HTML


Jen Spoerke on Oct 29, 07:42pm

I love the essential question. I can only imagine how it could spark so many different ideas and points to debate. The anchor text is great, too. I like that it has videos mixed into it (for multi-modal instruction). I might actually enjoy physics through activities like these!

Ethel Gaides on Oct 28, 09:12pm

Intriguing essential question! Excellent menu of options for students .... loved the Superhero idea. The student work example of Envelope Man showcased understanding. "90% of class liked the format" is a powerful statement. You supported the UDL needs of all your learners. Great project!

Kim Carter on Oct 18, 07:20pm

What a great model for collaboration! I really like the LibGuide and the inclusion of the video there. I particularly appreciate your anchor text selection. While it is undeniably challenging, the interactive nature of the online article and the variety of media provide multiple access points. I bet the small group discussions were lively!
The final project parameters provided lots of opportunity for students to personalize and be creative while sharing common expectations. I also have to say I really appreciate your clearly stated goal of building students' "willingness and confidence" so they will continue learning about physics after graduation :-)

Caitlin Gately on Oct 17, 01:26am

Great unit! I liked how you had so much discussion and small group work. I liked how you had them read the anchor text in small groups. The student work was awesome- so much literature and creativity tied into physics!

Linda Hedrick on Oct 16, 07:45pm

Wow, well-thought out and planned out unit. The comprehension and enthusiasm is reflected in the creativity of the final projects. Love Envelope Man.

Jessica Payeur on Oct 15, 04:23pm

This unit is definitely for a class of students that have some knowledge about Physics! And from the looks of the unit, I am sure they have a great time in the class. I really like that you have a vocabulary list for students to refer to when reading. A lot of teachers in upper level classes assume students should know all of the vocabulary in their reading assignments, and they don't. I think it is really great you have given them a quick reference so that they can really comprehend what they are reading, and make use of it.
The final projects are very creative. The comic strip is fantastic. I also loved that students were able to do some creative writing to explain their knowledge, rather than that traditional lab report!



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