Recent Posts by John Chilton

Physics is a mathematical science!

This is a quick note for those students who are just starting the IB Physics Diploma Course.  For most students, they take the HL course because they really like the subject or it is a requirement for their ultimate application to university (a physics or engineering course). Students often take the SL course because they simply like the subject. I am not aware of any student that has ever taken the Physics Diploma Course because… they want an easy life! The ...

Newton and his 3rd Law

A quick comment about this law – arguably the most complex of the three laws. My experience is that teachers often present Newton’s Laws in the way the books normally state them. This is something along the lines of … Newton’s 1: An object will move in a straight line at constant speed unless acted on by an external force. Newton’s 2: If an external unbalanced force acts upon an object, the unbalanced force will produce a rate of change of momentum and ...

Oxbridge or not Oxbridge?

By Wednesday, August 7, 2019 No tags 0

Many schools will be expecting students to be thinking about university applications after this summer break, and most of those decisions need to be decided now, at least as a first step. This post considers the idea of a student possibly applying to Oxford or Cambridge (jointly referred to as ‘Oxbridge’). If you are thinking about applying to Oxbridge, you need to consider the following questions: What are your marks like for (I)GCSE / MYP and what are your average marks like ...

Oxbridge or not Oxbridge?

By Monday, August 5, 2019 No tags 0

A quick comment about students that might have Oxbridge aspirations. In many schools, there is a crazy idea that students should not be given homework in the holiday breaks. While it is obvious that students need a break, it is also obvious that they like success at anything they do. In fact this feeling is stronger than that… if you ask students what is their favourite subject, they will often choose the subject they get the best marks in. This is ...

Newton and Mechanics

By Friday, July 19, 2019 No tags 0

Isaac Newton is a name that comes up a lot in Physics (an understatement if ever there was one). In Mechanics I tend to lump the SUVAT equations and laws together, teaching them as a small section (effectively) under his name. This blog considers this short section of work. I usually start with a moment to play the YouTube clip from Big Think, where Neil deGrasse Tyson gives his view on who was the greatest physicist of all time. It is ...

Phew – thank goodness that is over!

By Friday, July 19, 2019 No tags 0

By the time this post gets ‘out there’, the IB exams are likely to be finished. And the DP students will be away from school and relaxing … and so they should. But is it all really over? The year 1 students are continuing of course. And also, there are the final year students who are planning to continue into Higher Education in your subject – for me, those aiming at Physics or Engineering – they are waiting for results, but ...

Choices are about to be made?

By Wednesday, July 17, 2019 No tags 0

At this stage of the year, the IB is in the minds of four sets of students … Pre-IB. There will be a collection of students who have just finished MYP or GCSEs/IGCSEs and are planning to start the Diploma around September. Will it be the right thing or not? Will you have a better chance of getting to university if you do the Diploma or the alternative system that is often on offer (in the UK … A-Levels)? Well the ...

Who would be a teacher?

By Monday, July 15, 2019 No tags 0

The results have come out and I feel that my holiday has ended before it began! This is of course, not true … but sometimes, it feels that way. The results are a time for celebration (hopefully!) where I can, and without being patronising, I will often try to contact my students and let them know how well they did. I think it is important to remember that in education, we are helping to shape young people and that is a ...

Time to be lazy

This is the time of the academic year when IB teachers have a mix of being both happy and sad. Or maybe these are the wrong terms to use – we are nervous and feeling a little lazy – but teachers know this is an important phase for us to go through. Nervous. I feel nervous at this time because the exams are VERY close and of course, I am hoping (a terrible word I think!) that the exam allows the ...

Work until You’re Muscle-bound!

This is probably the most nervous time of the 2 years for the IBDP students. There is the fear that they will get crushed by the upcoming exams. And the exams come very quickly and really on top of each other. My experience of talking to students through this period, is that they keep working, possibly harder than they have ever worked, and they are all worried about how it will go. And then there is the ‘thing’ we do not ...

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