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In Context #3 (Spring, 2000, pp. 12-13), published by The Nature Institute

Experiential Physics

Michael D'Aleo and Stephen Edelglass, both high school teachers in Waldorf schools, have written a valuable little book called Sensible Physics Teaching. It contains day-by-day lesson plans for sixth through eighth grades, providing a curriculum thoroughly rooted in the immediate experience of the students.

One of the interesting features of Sensible Physics Teaching is that students are never asked to explain a phenomenon on their first day of encounter with it. Their initial task is to become acquainted with the phenomenon in all possible detail, making it part of their own, lucid experience. On a subsequent day they revisit the experience in memory -- serving further to enliven their inner command of the facts of the case. Then they seek to deepen their understanding by bringing the most fruitful conceptual illumination to their experience. This method has interesting consequences:

When a dispute about what happens arises between two students, or a student questions the teacher, it is settled by revisiting the phenomena. There is no dogma regarding experience. Students have their own experience that they try to