So this is soooo not my favorite topic in physics. I’m an experimentalist, which means I like to play with my physics toys in my hands… not in my head. Its very difficult to do relativity experiments in one’s kitchen so today was a lot of thought experiments. I showed the students a slideshow I made based on the Horribly Famous book, Einstein and his Inflatable Universe by Dr. Mike Goldsmith. If you aren’t familiar with Horrible History or the Horrible Famous books, you must get some. We have a lot (…ok.. most) of the horrible history books, my kids read them for their ‘fun’ reading and quite a few (…ok… most) of the horrible famous books. The horribly famous books tell you about the life of some famous dead person, like Einstein, Henry VIII, Shakespeare, Joan of Arc, etc. They are very entertaining, not to mention educational. You might be able to get some of these books from your library but I bought all of mine from Horrible Ray at horriblebooks.com. I found the Einstein book explained relativity much better than most physics textbooks so if you have a kid interested in relativity, this book is a great starting point.
After my slideshow I showed the following videos from youtube:
After that I gave the students some homework problems to work in class since we couldn’t do much in the way of a lab for this chapter.
I sent the following video link to my students to watch at home since there is supposed to be a big announcement from LIGO Thursday (2/11/16), and rumor has it they may have actually detected a gravity wave which would be BIG news! This video is pretty low quality but it does a decent job of explaining how LIGO works.
I found this website that lets you play with ‘light clocks’ and explore relativity of a bit. There’s also an ipad app you can download for free, Einstein’s Relativity.