Julia King: Nuffield science for schools

Julia King compares the excitement of Nuffield school physics with its teaching in Cambridge c1970.

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We did Nuffield physics and Nuffield chemistry, which were based on I suppose what we would now call – in our engineering teaching here we would call a CDIO approach, which is that you – which is called conceive, design, implement, operate. Which is that you do first. You try and – you – you try and determine the – the laws or whatever it is by doing the experiment, by plotting the data and then discovering whatever it is, Hooke’s law or – and Nuffield was designed like that. It didn’t tell you here’s Hooke’s law, now go and do it. It said, right, here’s some - you know, here’s a piece of plastic and some weights and a ruler and here are some – here are some springs and here are this, now do these experiments, what have you found. And I suppose that was – that kind of sense of discovery was very – was very nice. I enjoyed that. Good fun. When I got to Cambridge I suddenly realised how – how enlightened our teaching had been because all of the Nuffield physics particularly had been designed in that way, that you did and discovered and then looked at the history and whatnot. And when I got to Cambridge, the first term at Cambridge of physics lectures was gas laws. And I kind of sat through a term of gas laws, thinking, good grief, I had no idea physics was so boring [laughs]. Really put me off physics, I have to say, ‘cause I thought I wanted to be a physicist.

  • Interviewee Julia King
  • Duration 00:01:45
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Thomas Lean
  • Date of interview 2/18/2011
  • Shelfmark C1379/43

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