Are you looking to put some STEAM into your science curriculum? If so, here is your chance! The Department of Physics and Astronomy at James Madison University is excited to present you and your students with the opportunity to explore and demonstrate their understanding of physics concepts through video. This project is intended to reached across grade levels and disciplines and explore the intersection of the arts with physics. We want science teachers and students to work with teachers and students from the arts and technology to create a video to compete for cash prizes for you and your school! Here's how it works: your team creates an original video which demonstrates and explains something related to physics. You submit it to us for judging (details below) and the top 5 teams will receive an award from JMU as well as receive a monetary prize.
This contest is open to students in grades K-12 in both public and private schools. Students are free to work individually or in teams of up to 5 people. If more than five people contribute to a project, only 5 will be eligible to receive an award and prize money. In order for an entry to be accepted, all standard lab safety practice must be employed. Furthermore, videos must be free of objectionable content.
To submit an entry in this contest, a video less than 3 minutes in length must be shared with Thomas O’Neill by Google Drive. The instructions on how to share the video are downloadable in PDF format here. If you have trouble sharing your video, email Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance. The first 2 seconds of the video must be a title screen which includes:
- The text JMU 2015 PHYSICS VIDEO CONTEST
- Title of video
- Name(s) of entrant(s) (up to 5)
- School Name
- Faculty Sponsor
The deadline for submissions is 9:00 a.m. EST April 3, 2015. All standard video formats will be accepted. Upon receipt, your video will be reviewed to ensure it meets guidelines and an "official entry" and if it does it will be posted (by JMU Physics and Astronomy) to YouTube and JMUtube . You will receive email notification of your videos acceptance and the links to your entry.
Videos will be judged by a panel composed of JMU physics professors and physics students. Videos will be scored in 4 categories:
- Creativity- here we are looking for an
unusual phenomenon or a new twist on a classic. A straightforward explanation
of a block sliding down an inclined plane wouldn't fare too well here.
- Educational value- make sure you don't
spend all of your effort on a great demonstration without telling us how it
works. A group of your peers should learn some physics watching your video.
The better job you do explaining your effect, the better your score here.
Remember your target audience should be a group of your classmates
- "Wow factor"- This is an overall
impression of how entertaining, interesting, shocking, or inspiring your video
is. A clear explanation of an interesting phenomenon shouldn't be explained in
monotone by a student at a chalkboard. Quality of editing and audio, while
not of highest important will impact your score here.
- Popularity - spread the word about the
contest and your video. The number of hits on the youtube site for your video
will determine your score in this section
Prizes will be awarded to
the top 5 videos as follows:
Prize: $500 divided among the team members, and $300 for the host class to
use on physics educational materials.
Prize: $300 divided among the team members, and $200 for the host class
to use on physics educational materials.
Prize: $100 divided among the team members, and $100 for the host class to use
on physics educational materials.
Mention (2 prizes) $50 each to be divided among the team members.
Winning team members (and parents) will be invited to campus for
an awards banquet where all of the winning videos will be screened. While here
there will be an opportunity to learn about the physics research going on at JMU.
FAQ For Students
Are you serious about the laboratory safety part?
Very. Any video which violates lab safety rules, common sense,
or appears to have unethical use of live subjects will not be accepted for the
What is an appropriate topic for my video? Anything in which you can find interesting physics. It can be a
further explanation of something you've learned in class, or it could be
something beyond the scope of your class. Any branch of physics is fair game, as
long as you can explain what is happening to the target audience.
Who owns the rights to my video?
By submitting a video in this contest, you grant JMU physics and astronomy all
rights to the video, including use in marketing and advertising materials. You
are still free to use the material for your own purposes.
Do you have any helpful tips? Yes! I'm glad you asked. Take advantage of resources within your school and outside your school. This is a great opportunity for your students to engage in an interdisciplinary project. Team up with the art and technology teachers at your school or experts outside of your school. In addition there are many free software programs that can be used to help demonstrate physics concepts in entertaining and educational ways. Two of our favorite free physics software are:
- Tracker: Tracker can be used to extract position of an object in a video and export the data in a spreadsheet for motion analysis. Here is a great example of using Tracker to model physics.
- Audacity: Audacity which can be used to analyze sound waves. Remember those annoying vuvuzelas from the world cup a few years ago? Here is a nice demonstration using software like audacity to filter out a vuvuzela, and teaching some good physics along the way.
Not all of the effort has to be on the tape! Don't be afraid to spend some time setting up, editing, and adding effects to the video. This is where having a team made of members with a variety of skills in physics, photography/video, and technology will be important.
Finally, we have 4 criteria for judging, but at the end of the day, we're physicists. Incorrect physics is a big strike against you. Get the physics right! And try to make it educational. Show it to a younger sibling or friend. Did they learn something by watching it? If so, you're probably on the right track.
FAQ For Teachers
What are the benefits to my students?
This contest can be used to promote 21st century skills by
creating cross discipline teams of physics student and tech/media student to
create and enter a video project. Physics student would be in charge of science
content and materials and media student in charge of editing and appearance.
How can I fit this into my curriculum?
The short answer is any way that makes sense for you. We have a
handful of suggestions depending on your needs:
- Work alone or with other teachers in your school to create teams of students. Have each team pick a physics concept from the course to illustrate in their video. This becomes a course long project. Devote as little or as much class time as needed.
- Work with the science and art clubs in your school to generate interest and energy in the video competition and your science course. If your school doesn't have a science club you could create one.
- Build time into your curriculum specifically for the project. You could devote a day in class every two weeks or so for video project work.
- Have the students complete the project on their own and give extra credit to anyone who submits a video project.