Teaching Physics with The Simpsons

Concepts like matter, energy, and force can be abstract and challenging ideas to grasp for students of physics. Introducing these topics with the help of the Simpson family may make physics an easier pill to swallow for reluctant learners. Check out these five clips for some surprisingly educational moments from a timeless sitcom:

1. Static Electricity

Bart struggles to entertain himself during a power outage. When he desperately tries to power his devices with static-electricity (to disappointing results), he learns that not all types of electricity function in the same way.

2. Thermodynamics

Homer’s frustration with Lisa’s ‘perpetual motion machine’ gives him a renewed appreciation for the laws of thermodynamics. You might ask students: is such an invention possible?

3. Newton’s First Law of Motion

Homer’s unsuccessful attempt to hurt himself at work backfires thanks to Newton’s first law of motion. Can students explain why Homer didn’t fall?

4. Matter

How does this fictional ‘matter transporter’ work? Let students show what they know about matter by applying their knowledge to this hypothetical (and funny) scenario.

5. Conservation of Angular Momentum

Principle Skinner, or rather, the principle of Conservation of Angular Momentum comes to the rescue when Ralph gets in a tight spot. This short clip gives a concrete example of a sometimes abstract topic.

Have suggestions for more educational moments from The Simpsons? Submit them here!

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