What a day!

Boy 15th December 2021 will go down as one of mixed emotions. The idea that we’ve still got 6 more teaching days until we break up and we’re crawling to the finish. I know many of you aren’t teachers and think, well I don’t break up until Christmas Eve, there you teachers go again moaning about the time you work. All I can say is come and try it, including brother of mrsphysics, who think we do nothing but swan around with cups of tea and have 6 weeks of holiday. You are probably people who have your evenings, weekends and holidays to yourself, instead of like me spending my evenings with a pile of books or test papers and setting up for another 6 period day, and after a couple of weeks recovering in the summer trying to work out how to improve things for next year and catch my breath.

I didn’t get much sleep last night, no idea what was on my mind. I’d been tossing and turning for hours so thought I’d get up early and maybe do a few more lesson plans. It was only 3:05 am.

Things really began to look up when I found this in my inbox……

Thank you so much Emma and the Team- look at that smile, life is worth living xxxx

If you can’t read the image it says

Hello Mrs Physics! (Mrs Hargreaves), / Jennie
Apologies that it took sooo long to get back to you. We really do love your content and yes I understand totally how risky it can feel keeping the site secure, and website costs are expensive. Let’s hope it survives though to help many more in the time being ???
It certainly is useful for South Africa- the curriculum is actually very similar (at least in the Sciences) to the Scottish curriculum which I used to teach so I like to give them a broad range of sources as the sa curriculum can be a bit dry and boring on its own (!)
We really appreciate such a fresh approach to physics which can be dull and boring if we allow it, very easily ?. I’m actually a biologist hence needing to find resources like yours to help me teach the physics ?. So I’m eternally grateful thank you. 
If you have a source for chemistry to sign post us to that would be great, but wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year, from us here in Soweto Township, South Africa ??????
Emma & the team ?

That was so amazing. I suggested they look at https://chemistry-teaching-resources.com/ and anything by Dr Adrian Allan, who as well as a Chemistry teacher is also a magician, and that makes the work of the rest of us look a bit boring!

The whole day was not so great, so I needed this lovely email from Emma to get me through the day. I had 2 students who receive paid tuition think it is OK for them to disrupt my lesson, can you believe one of them even texted home during my lesson to tell mum what he wanted to cover with his Physics tutor tonight. The other obviously thinks I am not worth listening to as they too have a personal tutor. Don’t these students see that if they listened and worked in class their parents could save a lot of money on tutor fees. What about the impact their behaviour has on others in the class unable to spend the fees on private tuition, don’t they deserve to be able to hear what they are being taught. I spend a huge amount of time over my 37.5 contracted hours per week putting resources together, and somehow it isn’t good enough- is it because it is free?

Tonight I got the news that one of my all time most wonderful students has had a bit of tough news to deal with, and I hope that I can support her even though she is now at University.

Somehow the best days are the worst days. It can bring out the brightest and best and the selfish and worst. Well I thank those who show the brightest and best. Emma, I am delighted you took so long to respond, you got me through today and probably very many to come. I will come back to that photo of the lovely young man who looks so pleased to be in the education system, whether as a teacher or student you can see he recognises education as an important part of society, oh that students in the UK would have such a view. Oh and Emma, you look amazing too!

It isn’t my perpetual calendar quote for today but it was for the 2nd December

“What does faith sound like in our everyday lives?

This seems impossible for me. But nothing is impossible for the God who lives in me. That means all things really are possible for me too. I can do this with Him”


Mrs Physics updated 15th December 2021

Building an Escape Room

This is the end of a long process to make an Escape Room for Revision in my Classes. It is my first one so you can tell that it will be full of flaws, but I think there is something here that you can adapt and make it your own with very little need to adjust much. I’ll try to put the editable files in another post. In this post you can play along and try to solve the case. Do let me know how you get on.

Well in 2017 in Debrecan Hungary, at the Science on Stage Conference for Science Teachers I first encountered ESCAPE ROOMS in the classroom. Since then I’ve wanted to make one and went about it totally the wrong way, buying boxes and locks without any idea of what I would do.

I was fortunate enough to go to Cascais Portugal for the 2019 Science on Stage Conference and went to an Escape Room workshop, so that was it. I’ve now got to prove it can be done. I think however I might have gone over the top. It has taken me hundreds of hours of thinking and doing and I daren’t add up what I’ve spent, although most things wont be used, so my warning if you get hooked, plan and execute in draft and then pay!

I’ve moved the clues to another post on Escape Rooms and here I’ll discuss what I did and all the things I did wrong!…..


It is a real privilege to be attending the biennial Science on Stage Event in Cascais, Portugal.

There are 450 Science Teachers from around Europe, and further afield all with amazing ideas, projects and ways of teaching their students.

Setting up the Project stands.
About 1/3 of the exhibits


Representing Lockerbie Academy, Scotland and Escola Secundaria Maria Lamas, Portugal we have Hear Today – Gone Tomorrow.
Sebastian Funk is a great master of ceremonies.

After the set up of all the stands…….

End of an Epoch

21st September marks Catherine Wilson’s birthday but also an end to the IoP network coordinators as we’ve known it. To celebrate the people who instigated and ran the network and started the fantastic Physics forum met together for a find farewell and catch up. I was honoured to be invited but felt like a gate crasher! The people round the table had all provided advise, help, role models and support through my long career. Each person’s skill set was distinct and eclectic and they are mainly responsible for the positive shape of Scottish physics education.

The amazing movers and shakers of Physics education, and me!

Somewhere in a Rainbow

Thanks to Lewis and Sandy, who spotted a beautiful, intense, double rainbow from my window during a non-contact period today. Luckily I had a polarising filter to hand and Lewis managed to capture some photos showing rainbows are partially plain polarised. Check out the photos below.

the rainbow

The Rainbow through a polarising filter.
If you rotate the polarising filter most of the rainbow disappears.

What a way to spend a non-contact. Thank you! I suggest you keep a bit of polarising filter in your pocket, just in case! Don’t pinch mine though John needs it for his AH Project.


Night off

Not sure what the students did over the holidays but I don’t think it was much work! But maybe they were right. We are faced with a 13 week term and I’m exhausted- it’s day 3 back at work.

I was hoping that catching up over Christmas would have put me in better fettle to face the term but there are too many demands on me!

So the computers are off and left at work. Just an AGM to go to tonight, a friend who is in hospital to visit, a house to tidy, but first a cuppa and a kip!

Lesson in teaching

I’ve been teaching for a very long time, so long that I could have taught most of the staff. It seems odd then that I heard a good quote for teaching on Friday and heard it three times in 24 hours…….and the quote

Children remember not what you teach them but the way you make them feel

Now I think this is a great quote so why has no one told me before? Well just in case you haven’t come across this little nugget imI sharing it with you now. Shame Shame no one reads this!

Teaching in the 21 Century

I’ve been teaching for a long time now, longer than the probationer has been alive, but every year teachers get more and more tired and it isn’t because I’m too old. We’ve been back six days and already there has been tears from people with too much on their plate and too many students who need the teacher’s time if they are to do their best: time we don’t really have.

To the teachers who work hard all year, and often don’t have time to even go to the loo or eat dinner or grab a bite to eat I say…. this one is for you

To those who chose the school holiday dates I say…..

Please take careful note to monitor the sickness and stress rate of your staff. Teaching is not a 09:00-15:30 job!  You need to take care of the workforce and put their interest at heart.


I touch the future- I teach

As usual it is raining in my home town, so, as I wandered off home I got out the umbrella I was given at the Science on Stage Conference 2017 in Debrecan, Hungary. It was left over from the Science on Stage London 2015 event, where the weather was typically wonderful.

I can’t say that I was concentrating on where I was going as one of the quotes around the edge of the brolly was “I touch the future- I teach,” by Christa McCulliffe. For those that don’t know, she was the school teacher selected to be the first teacher in space and chosen for flight STS-51-L. This was the flight that never made it into space as it was the Challenger, that blew apart on January 28 1986, starting 73 seconds after lift-off. It was the 25th flight of the American Space Shuttle program, and disastrous final mission of the Space Shuttle Challenger, which lifted-off from Launch Complex 39-B, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission ended in catastrophic failure with the destruction of Challenger, and the death of all seven crew members.

I can’t begin to imagine the effect on this event on her family, friends and students she taught, and yet, in her short life she really had grasped something about the privilege of teaching. As teachers we really do have the chance to see students who will go on to have their own amazing lives, whether seemingly dull or interesting. Each student chooses their own future and makes their own life. Even getting through life for some is an achievement in itself.

Thanks Christa, that after all these years, you can still influence people and give renewed enthusiasm for the special job we do.