Physicopoeia

φυσικοποιΐα
THINGS I WISH I'D KNOWN WHEN I STARTED TEACHING PHYSICS

Many textbooks and exam questions give pupils a diagram of the energy levels in an atom and then ask them to calculate the wavelength of a photon emitted by an electron dropping from one energy level to another. This faintly amuses me, since it is the exact opposite of what Physicists actually have to do. Historically, the wavelengths of the emitted light were observed and the values of the energy levels had to be calculated from these wavelengths, not vice versa. This sheet gets pupils to do it this way round, which has the benefit of making it more of a problem-solving exercise rather than Yet Another Algebraic Substitution task: