PhysicsQuest is a story-based activity that exposes middle school students to the fun and relevance of science. APS provides a free PhysicsQuest kit to registered 6-9th grade physical science classes, home school groups, science clubs, and after-school programs. The kit includes a user's manual and materials for four physics experiments.
PhysicsQuest aims to teach middle school students physics concepts, but its overarching goal is to give them a positive experience with physics. APS is focusing this program on middle school students because these grades have been identified as the point when many students lose interest in math and science.
PhysicsQuest began as a World Year of Physics 2005 project with a kit based on Albert Einstein. Nearly 10,000 free kits were sent out during 2005, to classes across the country. Teacher feedback from the initial PhysicsQuest indicated that it successfully met a need for fun and accessible physics material at the middle school level, therefore APS decided to continue the program.
The PhysicsQuest 2006 kit revolved around Ben Franklin. The kit included experiments inspired by Franklin 's work with lenses, electricity, and heat absorption. Each experiment gives students a clue they need to decode a (fictional) secret message written by Franklin in 1778. You can download the PhysicsQuest 2006 manual by visiting Past PhysicsQuest Projects.
The PhysicsQuest 2007 kit revolves around the teenage Marie Curie. Marie grew up in Warsaw at a time when women were not allowed to attend college there. Each of the PhysicsQuest experiments gives students a clue they need to help Marie and her classmates avoid being caught as they study in secret. The kit includes experiments on heat, energy, and temperature. Classes can submit their results online for a chance to win prizes.
- Coordination, Research, Text: Becky Thompson-Flagg, Head of Public Outreach
- Editorial Review: Alan Chodos, Associate Executive Officer