x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Newton's other law - science is fun

A physics show teaches children in Abu Dhabi the laws of motion and forces.

Richard Pering and Stacey Letts show how theoretical physics and mathematics can be taught through interactive performances at Abu Dhabi Theatre yesterday. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National
Richard Pering and Stacey Letts show how theoretical physics and mathematics can be taught through interactive performances at Abu Dhabi Theatre yesterday. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National

ABU DHABI // When twelve-year-old Charlotte Miller strode on stage to cast a stone across the theatre, demonstrating Isaac Newton's law of gravity and motion, she was inadvertently helping the show's producers inject some fun into the teaching of theoretical physics.

The Al Raha School pupil was the first volunteer at Feel the Force, an interactive physics performance yesterday at the Abu Dhabi Theatre.

"Our whole idea is to try to make science fun and engaging to show that you can learn something while enjoying yourself," said Stacey Letts, a performer in the show, which is part of the Abu Dhabi Festival.

The show focused on Newton's law while explaining magnetism, friction, air resistance and upthrust. It used objects such as stuffed animals, a hammer, stones, electromagnets and a feather as props.

Charlotte said she "really enjoyed volunteering in the activities because you learn a lot about the forces".

The show, part of London Science Museum's educational programme for children, made its Abu Dhabi debut yesterday and is scheduled to run until Thursday. "Our job is to get the children excited about science because the minute they hear the word 'science', a barrier builds up and they find it boring and horrible," said Ms Letts, who started working in the programme four years ago.

Saud al Adwan, 13, took part in the lesson with a fellow classmate. The show's host stood on a piece of cardboard while the boys tried to turn him around, allowing them to understand the force of friction.

"It was really good and I learnt everything the hosts showed us," Saud said.

Richard Pering, the host of the show, has been working in the programme for almost three years and said the children were "amazing".

"As our first show, it's been really interactive and engaging," he said, "because back home in the United Kingdom we sometimes get a difficult audience - but here, they were lovely."

The organisers said they hoped the experiments were something "that the children can also relate to their lives".

"Even though what we're doing is educational," said Ms Letts, "you're still having fun and it's to break down the barriers of the fear that science is boring and just a textbook that you read."

cmalek@thenational.ae