Guide to the Group Project

Tips and tricks for the group project as part of ‘Exploring the Physics of Superheroes’.

For the group project, the central question that needs to be addressed is the following:

“Use physics and inspiration from superheroes to create a superpower that could have a positive influence on your locality or on the country at large.”

At the end of the project, your group is expected to give a short presentation of no longer than five minutes in relation to the project for the class. You will received training with regards to presenting and slide design for your presentation as part of the course.

Team number and structure

The number of students in each team should not exceed five students. It’s also recommended that you diversify the members of the team. In other words, be sure to select team members who bring new and different ideas to the table on the topic. While it is important that you agree on the overall topic for the project, it’s also important that you have a unique set of ideas for the project.

Ideas for the project

In the opening lecture for the course, I presented a number of different themes that you could explore in the project. Here is that list:

  1. Recycling – Is there a superpower that could help promote or accelerate recycling? And added to that, how can physics make it happen?
  2. Healthcare – How could physics and superpowers combine to improve healthcare? For example, could they accelerate wound healing? Or could we create super-technologies to monitor people’s bodies after surgery?
  3. Protection of the environment – The environment is under threat, and it’s going to take scientists and engineers from all disciplines to protect it. How could physics and a superpower help protect the environment? For example, is there a way to protect the trees in forests? Or to combat greenhouse gas emissions?
  4. AI technology – Every time we use Netflix or follow recommendations while shopping online, we are following the advice of AI algorithms. But how could we use AI as a superpower to change the world? And what role could physics play in this?
  5. Cybersecurity – With quantum computers in development, there may soon come a time where our cybersecurity algorithms will prove useless in protecting our secrets, such as our passwords for our e-mail accounts or our PIN numbers for our bank accounts? Can physics help address this issue? And how could superpowers fix things?
  6. Transportation – We spend our lives travelling from one point to another. When we use cars, trains, or planes, it requires the use of energy, and invariably fossil fuels. Perhaps we need a new way to travel, and maybe physics and superpowers can combine to give the answer.
  7. Sport – Imagine having super-eyesight for free-taking. Or imagine having super-speed for running at the Olympics. While these abilities might win you matches and medals, how could they also be used for good in the real world?

There are lots more possibilities of course. So, please allow the ideas for applications to flow, and don’t dismiss anything.

Filming while developing ideas

With the permission of your teachers in the class, it would be great if some of you could film the class during development of the ideas for the project. Some of these videos will be used as part of a video summarising the project in the final event. Additionally, teachers from the school are also asked to make short videos of the students working on the projects. Please make sure to film all videos in landscape mode!

The school presentation

On Monday October 24th or Tuesday October 25th, the groups present their ideas to the whole class. Each presentation should last no longer than five minutes, as mentioned earlier.

A jury that is made up of teachers and other school representatives will decide the winning presentation from the class. They’ll be looking at the following main points:

  1. Content – What is the basis of your presentation? How have you used physics in your idea? How have you turned to superpowers for inspiration?
  2. Charisma – Have you presented your idea in an energetic manner?
  3. Clarity – Are your group’s idea presented in a clear way? Is it there a clear story in your presentation?
  4. Supporting materials – How well have you used supporting materials like slides and props in your presentation.
  5. Time to Think – Has your idea left people with lots to ponder about the future and the topic as a whole? In other words, when people leave the room, will they be thinking about the brilliance of your idea hours and days later?

Presenting again on October 28th

The winning team from the school will present their pitch/idea at the final event for the ‘Exploring the Physics of Superheroes’ project on October 28th in Mullingar. The winning team must also send their slides to myself by Wednesday October 26th.

Support on science communication

During the science communication workshop you will receive support materials and ideas for the use of slides and props in your presentations. This will include:

  1. How to come up with the best story for your idea
  2. Tips for slide design
  3. How to create a story for your presentation
  4. How to keep the presentation engaging
  5. How to present in an effective way

And also check out my article in relation to five tips for presenting your project in the classroom.

About ‘Exploring the Physics of Superheroes’

‘Exploring the Physics of Superheroes’ is a new outreach project which allows students to experience the excitement of superheroes whilst learning about the physics that make such stories possible. The project is managed by Midlands Science and delivered by physicist Dr. Barry Fitzgerald (BW Science and The Superhero Scientist), who has done extensive research in this area. The project is supported by the Institute of Physics, whose Limit Less campaign aims to support young people to change the world by doing physics.