Book Review: A Phenomena Based Physics - Volume I May 01 2018

A Phenomena-Based Physics: Sound, Light, Heat

Volume I for Grade 6

Waldorf Publications just redesigned the cover of the classic book for sixth-grade physics teachers: A Phenomena-Based Physics, Volume I (Volumes II and III are for seventh and eighth-grade teachers respectively). Manfred von Makensen devoted his life to the study and teaching of science. This first volume of this three-part series pays tribute to this lifetime of devoted study and experimentation.

Von Mackensen’s approach is unorthodox and inspiring. He explains each experiment described in the book. Every experiment begins and ends artistically. He understands the comprehension that comes to young people through artistic experience, and the transformative power of creative processing of information. The author’s description of why we do what we do in teaching physics is in itself inventive.

Von Mackensen, using the book to prepare physics lessons for sixth graders, strives to find and define new language to distinguish the remarkable, phenomena-based science indicated by Steiner and by Goethe before him.

The cover of the book is new and pays tribute to the total eclipse of 2017, and the camera obscura created by the sunlight passing through tree leaves making a narrow focus for the light and turning the shadow image upside down. The text remains the same, of course.

In Waldorf teaching, understanding the principles of instruction techniques, of beginning with experiences and experiments and allowing the comprehension to follow those, can transform all Waldorf instruction. In physics, as defined by Manfred von Makensen, the essence of well-prepared, experience-based, artistic presentation for the illumination of ideas in the hearts and minds of children is made magnificently clear. The direction, inspiration, and clarity of the material will serve teachers in classrooms and parents at home for a long time to come.