Physics is Better with Questions

These physics students at the University of Tennessee contemplate unlikely ways of generating electricity on Packback Questions.

Man’s ability to harness electricity has led to one of the greatest periods of human flourishing. Still, millions around the world suffer from lack of access to reliable energy sources.

That’s why today’s physics students have the massive challenge of figuring out new ways of creating energy that are cheaper, more reliable and safer for people all around the world.

A student at the University of Tennessee asks:

On Packback Questions, it’s common to see BIG PICTURE questions like this. In many undergraduate electricity and magnetism college classes, the focus is usually on the methods that have already been done before.

But what about the unknown?

What hasn’t been done before in the field of physics that could possibly benefit the world many times over? That’s what many students want to figure out — all they need is the space to indulge in their curiosity. They need a space where they can culminate the theories they’ve learned in lecture and apply them to new situations in the world that are relevant and meaningful to them.

This is what higher level learning is about — creating knowledge, discussion and possibilities.

One of the best ways we’ve found to promote higher-level learning is by letting students be students. Let them be curious and figure things out. They shouldn’t have all the answers or even think that they do.

You might be surprised at what they can accomplish.

As we see here, his classmates  contribute to the discussion and provide new information to the scene:

Could jellyfish be the alternative energy source that the original student was looking for? Maybe not. But this does raise some pretty entertaining theories for him to mull over.

Another student proposes that thorium reactors could be the next big thing:

This student continues on about solar power in space:

“What could be more exciting or futuristic than a massive solar array, floating on a platform above the planet, beaming wireless electricity toward the Earth’s surface.  There are a lot of advantages to this option: no need to take up valuable real estate on Earth, and no energy fluctuations caused by weather.

“That said, there is a long way to go with this form of alternative power. Wireless electricity transmission, long-term radiation shielding, meteorite protection, and the sheer cost of putting the equipment into orbit are just some of the stumbling blocks.”

This is a good start to building a good physicist.

Scientific theory is built off of the idea of asking questions and thoroughly testing them out using a variety of sources and tests. As scientific thinkers, growing the ability to ask good questions is crucial.

That’s how high levels of critical thought are built using Packback Questions.

When students answer questions so willingly and openly, other students get to analyze and evaluate multiple viewpoints and make their own judgments.

Additionally, by asking questions that invite challenging, interesting discussion, the students create a community of curiosity around marketing that is both engaging and fun.

We believe that with Packback Questions, these students will carry more curiosity and higher critical thinking skills into whatever they choose to pursue outside of the classroom.

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