Phenomena

Since 2009, the Seine-Saint-Denis County Council has been backing “la Culture et l’Art au Collège (CAC)”. This project is based to a large extent on the presence in class for several weeks (40h) of an artist or scientist whose mission is to engage the students in a process of research and creation. 

 

Tutors : Stéphanie Couvreur, Maeva Serror, Zaëlle Devaux/ physicists, Florence Durret/ astrophysicist

Project manager: Mathieu Marion

 

Objectives: 
What was known at the time? How did it happen and how did they succeed? The great theories in physics and the people behind them are still a fascinating subject. In this project, the pupils will learn about great experiments in physics. The theme for the first year is the birth of modern science. The pupils follow in the footsteps of Galileo and Newton to discover that experimental science, which began with the physicists, enables us to analyse, understand and reproduce natural phenomena.

Workshops :
The pupils were asked to reproduce three major experiments which left their mark on the history of physics: Galileo’s experiment with falling bodies, Galileo’s experiment with his astronomical telescope and Newton’s experiment on the decomposition of light. The aim was twofold:

Guided by a physicist, the pupils took an experimental approach. Together they learnt about the experiment, drew up hypotheses, observed, measured and interpreted the results.

They also saw how an original experiment in its time can have a major impact on the development of knowledge. Science has a history, made up of controversy and flashes of intuition and its discoveries are representative of their time. Overlooking this aspect often reduces science to a set of laws, observations or experiments devoid of meaning.
So each experimental stage was accompanied by intensive documentary research, reading, films. Documents of all kinds are made available to the classes to help them in their research.

Exhibition:
What is a discovery? In what way can Galileo and Newton be said to have revolutionised science? Are the experiments physicists carry out today different from those done by Galileo and Newton? Representatives of each class were asked these three questions. The astrophysicist Florence Durret helped put the pupils’ answers into perspective and develop the project. A 9-minute film was screened in the schools using the MICACO equipment. A day was spent presenting the project to the other classes. 

Outings (selection):
- VISIT TO EXPLORA AT THE CITÉ DES SCIENCES
- SPECTACLE ABOUT NEWTON AT THE PLANETARIUM AT THE CITÉ DES SCIENCES
- TWO DAY VISIT TO FUTUROSCOPE IN POITIERS
- VISIT TO THE PALAIS DE LA DÉCOUVERTE ON THE THEME OF THE GREAT EXPERIMENTS IN PHYSICS
- VISIT TO THE PHYSICS LABORATORIES OF THE UNIVERSITÉ PARIS DIDEROT - PARIS 7

Participating schools: 
- ‘Classe relais’, Collège Evariste Galois, Sevran
- Class (3rd), Collège Jean Jaurès, Pantin
- Class (5th), Collège Fabien, Saint-Denis