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Outdoor life beckons

A Curriculum for Excellence opens the school doors wide for physics teachers to get outside, according to Scotland's national officer for the Institute of Physics.

Alison McLure told the annual conference of the Association for Science Education Scotland that taking the subject outdoors was a great way to demonstrate its relevance to real life.

She used the example of a solar cooker - using tin foil - which could be used to explain relatively simple concepts, such as convection, as well as more complex ideas. Fire-starting, finding north and astronomy are other possible starting points for physics in the outdoors.

Ms McLure said: "When I was younger, I did a lot of sailing. To me, sailing was about physics.

"By taking physics out of the classroom we can show its relevance."

She has compared A Curriculum for Excellence with established guidelines, and believes the new targets and experiences make outdoor learning more feasible than before.

At another conference session, Ms McLure talked about how her skills in physics and meteorology took her to the Antarctic. "Being a scientist is pretty much the only way to get there," she said.

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