Physical Sciences (HS 227)

I  Projected Learning Goals:

Each participant will be encouraged to develop an understanding of the methods associated with phenomenological or sense-based science.  Comparisons between the methods of sense-based science and more classical approaches will be both encouraged and investigated. The emphasis will be placed on developing understanding through individual experience so that later presentations in the classroom are rich and authentic.  The physics curriculum in all four grades may be briefly surveyed but major emphasis will be on the 11th and 12th grade.  Various discussions concerning implementation of the curriculum and the relationship to the developing adolescent will also take place.

II  Overview of Course Content and Methods:

The class will have two central themes.  The first will be to work with various phenomena associated with the curriculum to illustrate the methods used in the classroom while also giving the participants an active experience of how to demonstrate the phenomena.  Most of these examples will be drawn from the more challenging topics associated with the 11th grade Electricity and Magnetism block and 12th grade Optics block. Secondly, the class will focus on related themes in Rudolf Steiner’s Light Course as well as Embracing Materialism and Letting It Go by Michael D’Aleo so that a deeper appreciation for the importance of these methods becomes apparent. If time permits, an investigation of Georg Unger’s Forming Concepts in Physics will also be included, as the relevance of a clear concept of matter is essential for a successful understanding of how to approach electrical and visual phenomena.

III  Verification Requirements and Evaluation Methods:

The evaluation of students will be based upon participation in class and brief assignments generated during the course.

IV  Readings:

Before students arrive at the course they should read and have studied the following books. The instructor will also supply a number of short essays and handouts. 


Rudolf Steiner, Light: First Scientific Lecture-Course, trans. Raoul Casino (Hudson: Anthroposophic Press March 2002)

Michael D’Aleo, Embracing Materialism and Letting It Go (download at, especially Chapters 5 & 6


Stephen Edelglass et al, Being on Earth (available at

Georg Unger, Forming Concepts in Physics (Chestnut Ridge, NY: ParkerCourtney Press, 1995)Projected Learning Goals

Arthur Zajonc, Catching the Light (New York, Bantam Books, 1993)



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Second Year

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