Experience gravity in the classroom using the rubber sheet: an educational proposal from the collaboration between University and School

12 Jan 2021  ·  Adriana Postiglione, Ilaria De Angelis ·

Teaching modern physics in high school is of increasingly importance as it can offer students a more realistic and updated vision of the world, and can provide an opportunity to understand the most recent scientific discoveries. In this context, General Relativity (GR) occupies a prominent place, since it is related to astonishing scientific results, such as the first image of a black hole or the discovery of gravitational waves... In this paper we describe an educational proposal aimed at teaching GR in high school in a fun and playful way using the so-called rubber sheet analogy. We present a set of instructions to build a simple and low-cost space-time simulator, and a series of related educational cards that guide the teacher in the implementation of the activities step by step. This work is the result of a long and productive debate among Italian high school teachers who collaborate since many years with the Department of Mathematics and Physics of Roma Tre University in Rome. As our proposal relies on the collaboration with the final users, we believe that it will meet their needs and expectations, and it will help to treat GR in high school more and more over time. read more

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Physics Education