Training physics teachers in Ethiopia

9 August 2012

A visit was made to Addis Ababa during the 2nd two weeks in July to present a training session on practical physics to Ethiopian secondary school teachers, a National Physics Teacher Trainer and a Laboratory Technician.

The Institute of Physics Co-ordinators attending were Mrs Christine Cleave Head of Physics Derby High School and Dr Bill Poole retired.

The 16 teachers who attended the sessions had very little hands-on experience but a very theoretical understanding of physics. As with previous training sessions emphasis was placed on plotting measured results and it was clear that some of the teachers needed to understand how to scale graphs and the reasons behind scatter in the results.

African teachers brushing up on their physics knowledge

The Laptops donated by the IOP and National Physical Laboratory were used by the teachers to explore the interactive experiments. The teachers were very keen to use the Virtual Physical Laboratory simulations and were thrilled to be able to take a copy with them to their school on completion of the course.

Practical experiments were selected from the Ethiopia curriculum for Grades 9 and 10 and demonstrated to the teachers. The sessions included demonstrations on Hooke’s Law, Archimedes principle, electrical circuits, Lenz’s law and some optics.

studying modelling on a laptop


As in the October 2011 session, teachers were asked to prepare a practical presentation for the whole group during the last session.

In the closing ceremony the teachers were given a certificate and were asked to give feed back on the course. A young teacher, Biruh Mulugeta, from Injibara Secondary and Preparatory school commented that he had class sizes of 50 students or more, so VPLAB would be a very useful tool for demonstrating to the classes.