Students actually apply what they have been learning to the services they perform in the community. They take a lot of pride in what they work on and are more motivated to improve themselves.”
Through Dr. Ho’s service-learning course, Physics Outreach, Fresno State students perform road shows for local K-12 schools to make physics fun and understandable. Fresno State students describe the basic laws of Newtonian mechanics, electromagnetism, and thermal physics in concise and simple language to educate the general public. Each week, Fresno State students travel to area K-12 schools to put on two to three one-hour “shows” for the students. The kids in these schools become excited when they can get involved in stimulating physics activities, which include lifting their teacher with one hand by mechanical advantage, learning about pressure by lying on a bed of nails, and enjoying ice cream made right before their eyes with liquid nitrogen. Students then learn about possible career opportunities.
Dr. Ho explains how service learning has impacted her teaching: “When I first started teaching the course of Newtonian Mechanics to freshmen in the engineering and physical science majors, I had difficulties communicating with them. After I started working on the service-learning course and visited many local high schools, I developed a better understanding of the United States K-12 education system. A majority of the high school students do not have sufficient training in mathematics or physics until they come to college. As a result of this understanding, I developed more empathy for the students and am able to communicate better with them now.”