Building a sense of scale in the classroom
The junior high school at my school has a complete set of the Powers of 10 Posters in the hallway (none of my internet ninja skills could turn up a link, sorry). They are stunningly beautiful, and I can still remember how thrilling it was when I saw the video for the first time as a physics student myself in high school. As with most things, the website adds a ton, and yet still misses something. Another great website is the scale of the universe.
It takes way more than a watching a video or visiting a website to truly understand the scale of our universe, so I I’ve always thought—what if this were simply a permanent part of our classroom? What if I took one of the walls and marked off a logramithic distance scale from the size of a proton all the way up to the size of the observable universe.
I’d love some design thoughts here—they’re not as big/modern/edgy as I was hoping—but since I LaTeX’d the numerals, they are perfectly proportioned. If you’re interested in downloading the templates to play with them, here’s a link.
Once we get the scale up, my thought would be to have students print and draw illustrations of objects (perhaps with QR code descriptions) and place them along the scale.
If this ends up successful, I think it’d be equally fun to try to put a similar time scale along the back wall.