Invited Speaker Abstracts

Friday Night

Co-Teaching Physics with Others from Around the World:  MIT BLOSSOMS

Richard C. Larson

Mitsui Professor of Engineering Systems

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA 02139


MIT BLOSSOMS offers free interactive learning videos for high school math and science classes. Now in its 6th year, BLOSSOMS has a growing repository of Physics lessons, as well as lessons in biology, chemistry, mathematics and engineering.  In presenting a BLOSSOMS lesson to a class, students sit in their regular seats with all electronic gadgets switched OFF.  The in-class teacher performs a “Teaching Duet” with the video teacher.  Each BLOSSOMS Lesson is shown on a screen at the front of the class, operates in short segments (2 – 4 minutes), then after each segment the in-class teacher guides the class in highly interactive learning.  BLOSSOMS lessons are NOT lectures!  Key motivations:  Going deep, developing critical thinking skills, exciting students about math and science, showing real world relevance, developing cross-cultural awareness and appreciation (as BLOSSOMS has seven country partners).

In this talk we describe BLOSSOMS, its history, motivation and results to date.  We outline a current project with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to create eight new BLOSSOMS science lessons to support science teacher PD (Professional Development) for transitioning to the teaching approach of NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards).  We illustrate several current BLOSSOMS lessons, with titles such as:

Can Earthquakes Be Predicted?

Ice Skater’s Delight: The Conservation of Angular Momentum

Physics of Donkey Carts

The Physics of Boomerangs

Gravity at Work

Soaring in The Wind: The Science of Kite Flying


We conclude with an active Q&A session with the audience.