Minute Physics Videos

Emily Russell designed this for Physics 95: Topics in Current Research aimed towards junior and senior concentrators in Physics.  Students were encouraged to develop their skills in explaining complicated physics topics in layman’s terms through a short video presentation. This project incorporates public speaking skills and video technology like Final Cut Pro. 

Students are asked to pick any topic they would like to explore and are assigned to create a roughly three minute video in the style of a minute physics video. The project was broken up into a few pieces. The first piece was a proposal—just a simple two-sentence declaration, so the instructors can determine whether or not the student’s topic will be feasible in a three-minute space. Then, students were asked to create the script of the project first. They were asked to then present their scripts out loud in front of the whole class (NB: the class was very small, however this can be replicated in large class by splitting it into smaller groups) and received feedback from both peers and instructors. Following this preliminary presentation, students fixed their scripts and turned in a recorded final draft to their instructors in preparation for the filming.

The filming portion of the project involved several steps as well. First, students were asked to create storyboards, which would be laid out around the class. Students would evaluate each other’s storyboards and write comments, criticisms, and other markups on their peers’ storyboards. Finally, the recording process involved a lot more set-up from the instructors. For example, Russell set up a lab with a video camera, a light box, and a couple of lamps. Students filmed their projects, then took their clips and edited them on programs like iMovie or FinalCutPro.

The goals of this project are to teach students how to think about learning physics in terms beyond those presented in problem sets and lectures—communication. These presentations were aimed towards the “educated, but non-scientific community,” and students were encouraged to learn how to talk to real people about physics. 

Past Examples: 1, 23