Physics is the science of matter and its motion. Others may define it as the study of matter and its relationship to energy. Whichever definition suits your fancy, three things are quite certain.
1. PHYSICS IS A SCIENCE.
This implies that Physics possesses both the quantitative and qualitative nature!
It requires all the principles of scientific exploration which includes
1. Keen observation of physical phenomenon.
2. Hypothesis or hypothetical guesses about the observed physical phenomenon.
3. The carrying out of repeated experiments to validate or reject the hypothesis formed.
4. The development of theories based on the conclusion drawn from the first three principles.
2. PHYSICS STUDIES MATTER.
Matter is generally described as anything that has mass and occupies space. In simple words the term ‘matter’ encapsulate physical materials around us. This includes but not limited to humans, animals, and objects.
It will be safe to describe Physics as that aspect of science that studies physical observations. You should think of Physics as that ‘question-asking’ and ‘solution-seeking’ side of science that deals with physical observations.
Physics asks ‘Why do I see what I saw the way I saw it’?
Physics ask ‘Why do people fall on slippery surfaces’?
Physics ask ‘How did Kofi Kingston beat up the Big-Show’?
Physics ask ‘Why are some surfaces hard while others are soft’?
Physics ask ‘Why do some objects glitter when light is focused on them’?
Why do I see myself in the mirror?
Why? Why? Why?
Furthermore, it is also important to know that Physics studies matter quantitatively and qualitatively! It is a numerical science! The union between Physics and Mathematics cannot be broken, and this underscores why it has a lot of formulas, mathematical derivations, mathematical manipulations, etc.
3. PHYSICS OBSERVES THE KEEN RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MATTER AND MOTION.
Yes, the relationship between matter and energy is also correct! Look at these definitions and compare.
Motion: This is the change in the position of a body from one point to another. Often, to describe this change perfectly, we need to talk about;
1. The time taken – Measuring a change in the position of a body without considering the time frame, or the time within which the change took place is not accurate enough. So we often say, body A moved from Position X1 to Position X2 in 5 seconds!
Think about that, it appears better but also incomplete. Why? It is because the information we have supplied is not accurate enough. So we also need to consider something else! What is responsible for this change in position?
2. Force – Force is the pull or push on a body! It is from basic observation that we know that ‘objects’ don’t just leave where they are! Something must cause the change in position, either in the form of a push of pull! According to Sir Isaac Newton, a body will remain in its perfect state of rest, or continual motion, until an external force is applied to alter the direction of motion, or halt the motion, or trigger the motion. So we cannot talk about the science of motion, without talking about ‘Time’ and ‘Force’
In Physics, we consider only two types of Forces.
– The Contact Force (There exists a contact between the subject applying the force and the object of the force)
-Force Fields (No contact exists. This describes the region or area where the influence of a force acts without contact! The Magnetic field is an example)
LET’S SEE THE OTHER KEYWORD USED IN OTHER DEFINITIONS – ENERGY!
What is Energy? Energy is the ability or capacity to do work.
That is simple but if we break it down a little bit, we would be surprised how related it is to motion.
When is Work said to be done? Work is said to be done when a ‘FORCE’ applied on a body, moves the body through a ‘DISTANCE’ in the direction of the applied force!
Are you surprised? Boom! We are back again to the same root words.
-Change in distance (Change in position – Motion)
To also describe this effectively, we talk about the rate at which Body A or Mr. B works! This also involves knowing the time it takes Body A or Mr. B to complete the allotted task or said work!
So, In a nutshell, the two definitions are literally the same!
WHAT HAS MY ATTITUDE GOT TO DO WITH MY SUCCESS IN PHYSICS?
Attitude, as often said is everything!
I recall those days after we concluded our Junior W.A.E.C, our seniors came to each of us asking us ‘what class are you going to’. Once you say science class? They will shout ….Physics Chemistry Biology (PhyChemBa)! Right on, fear, doubts was sown into us! We got so scared of the subjects without even knowing why we were afraid!
I still look back at those days, and I laugh at our childishness! Some of my friends changed their minds eventually and left for Arts or Commercial class. While a few of us who were determined, saw that as a reason to invest our time to finding out more about those three Monsters of Science, so called. We went into the library every day! Well, trust me, if you know me, you will know that I love challenges!
I immediately picked up Principles of Physics by M. Nelkon and Parker and started reading! That was one hell of a complicated physics textbook! Tough Grammars, and foreign examples! Lol! Nevertheless, I kept reading…I read and read until I developed a headache! It’s amazing that today, so many of my friends are Medical Doctors, Engineers and the likes. I am glad I am a Physicist.
1. ATTITUDE DETERMINES YOUR RESPONSE TO FEAR AND DISCOURAGEMENT.
How you respond to Physics can be out of instilled fear or discouragement! If you are going to have good success in Physics, you must learn to find out things for yourself! You can’t base your judgment on what people say or what your seniors have said! No! How do you respond to fear and discouragement? Well, to me, I see them as challenges, and you should see them that way!
I ask myself three questions.
1. If it is as difficult as they have portrayed, what is the reason behind its difficult nature?
2. If it is as difficult as they have portrayed, why are they also in science class? That’s paradoxical!
3. If it is as difficult as they have portrayed, why do others succeed well in that class?
Armed with these three guards, I take the difficulty up as a challenge.
2. YOUR ATTITUDE WILL INFLUENCE YOUR DEDICATION.
It will be utter deception to tell you that Physics is very cheap! That is not been fair! Physics is neither difficult nor easy! Your attitude determines what side of the subject you experience! Every subject requires hard work for success to be achieved! Your dedication to attaining success is up to you! You cannot take your classes with lassie-faire disposition and expect success! You skip classes, you are lazy towards group works, you hate assignments, you dislike practical and you want everything the easy way!
Truth be told, you will find Physics very difficult! It is not for lazy learners! Physics is for learners who have a pursuit and are dedicated to seeing their dreams and goals become a success!
3. YOUR ATTITUDE WILL DETERMINE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR TEACHER.
Relationship here strictly refers to academic grounds! I have interviewed a lot of learners who claim they hate their Physics teacher! That’s grave! If you hate your teacher, your judgment will be clouded! How will you ask question in the class if you don’t understand? How will you get the boldness to approach the teacher if you need help with a topic you are struggling with?
Some learners on the other hand are crushing on their Physics teacher! That’s unbelievable! You are lusting after your teacher and because he has failed to reciprocate, you are determined to frustrate his class? Oops! I have heard a lot from Physics teachers and spoken also to a few learners having difficulty with Physics, only to find out that the problem is not with the teacher or the subject but with the learner!
4. YOUR ATTITUDE WILL DETERMINE YOUR RESPONSE TO FAILURE.
Failure is inevitable on the pathway to success! If you must succeed, you must have failed on several times and refused to stay down! Here is the problem with a lot of Physics learners! They hate to fail. Once, they fail a test, they lose their grip! Often times, I tell learners my story.
My first key test score in mathematics was 2%. I mean I scored 2 out of 100! I was mocked, I was flogged, and I was humiliated. Guess what? I chose not to stay down! I knew why I failed. That was in my junior secondary school. I read mathematics and crammed! I got to the test hall and my brains went blank! I was unable to answer a single question! In fact, I knew the 2% was for my ink.
Did life end for me? No! I became friends to those who did exceptionally well. We read together. I asked them questions! I took difficult questions to them! Guess what? My second test, I got 68%, the third, 88%.
That was the beginning of my success story in mathematics! I became so passionate about mathematics! By the time, I got to JSS3, I was already among the best 7 overall best students of my school!
If you don’t want to fail, I guess you will have to reconsider! Your teacher will intentionally give you some questions to examine your ability to think outside of the box. They will be questions that are indirect and will be confusing! In short, you will miss a few questions. I recall asking some of my students to derive the equations of motion. I gave this to them as a holiday assignment. I know fully well, that most of them will copy and paste from textbooks. They did it just for the holiday assignment score – what a poor attitude to have!
Guess what I did? I made it their baseline test. Only two scored over 70%. Others got below 20%. I observed with keen interest how broken they were! They had experienced their first failure as a result of poor attitude to their assignments. Two things happened – They knew I am going to teach them that topic that term! So they gave me the utmost attention! Also, many of them revisited their assignments. They met with their friends to explain and re-explain.
By the end of the term, it was the number one question, they met in their theory. The lowest score for that particular question was 6/10. What is the take home? Every Physics learner must have the right attitude to failure, if good success is to be attained! We all learn more from experiences.
5. YOUR ATTITUDE WILL DETERMINE YOUR COMMITMENT TO A TIME-TABLE.
We live our daily lives often as routines! We wake-up. Say our prayers. Head to the bathroom. Eat. Go to school etc., and the cycle continues with a few exceptions or changes! Unfortunately, a lot of learners dislike keeping to a routine! Your attitude towards having and rigorously following a reading time-table will determine your success or failure in Physics.
You sleep during afternoon preps and at night preps, all you do is gist and talk. Yet, you want to have straight A’s? I guess that only happens in the fantasy world! Your commitment to reading must be high. You should not allow anything to take the place of your scheduled reading time. Success does not happen overnight! It is the resultant effect of preparation aligning with the right opportunities.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE CREATING A READING TIME-TABLE
1. You need to know what part of the day is convenient for you.
Select a time-table convenient for you! Don’t copy your friend! You should know yourself better than others!
2. You should know when you can read devoid of distractions.
You must select a time when calls, Whatsapp messages or other social media outlets will not be a huge distraction to you. In fact, what stops you from switching off your phone? If you switch off your phone, will heaven fall?
3. You should know for how long at a stretch, you can read without getting worked-up, distracted or becoming drowsy!
If the maximum you can go is 2hours, divide your reading time into 30minutes and pick up four subjects per day! So many learners create time-tables for show! They claim to read for 6 hours while in the actual sense, they have slept all the way! Do not deceive yourself.
4. You need to have a reading jotter!
Yes, I know you are brilliant, nevertheless, the psychology of jotting down key points is this ‘you are writing on your brain’. That is amazing! As you write, it goes beyond writing on plain paper! Psychologically, it is also a way of embedding information and integrating it into your mind.
Conclusively, Success is possible, if you have the right attitude! If you are having difficulties with Physics, the first point of call is to look within and examine your attitude.
See you at the top!
Babalola Adewole Emmanuel is an advocate for technology enhanced active learning, and the integration of indigenous language in the teaching and learning of sciences.
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