Physics Demonstration Films

This series of videos have been produced by the National STEM Learning Centre and the Institute of Physics. They are mostly aimed at teachers and illustrate how to perform simple demonstrations and use particular pieces of equipment. Some topics have versions of the video that could be used with students in the classroom. The topics covered in the videos are:

* Creating a bin-bag capacitor
* Illustrating the movement of particles in Brownian motion
* Demonstrating diffraction using laser light
* Creating a simple electric motor
* Static electricity and charge with an 'electric sausage'
* Demonstrating the process of electromagnetic induction
* Using an electron diffraction tube
* Compressing a gas in a fire piston
* Gravity and the motion of projectiles with the Monkey and Hunter demonstration
* Using an oscilloscope
* Transmission of electricity along power lines
* Using a signal generator to illustrate waves and sound
* Demonstrating thermal conductivity
* Using a Van de Graaff generator
* A simple wave machine


Diffraction of Laser Light

Publication date:
2010 to date

1 file


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Electron Diffraction Tube

Publication date:
2010 to date

1 file


Not yet rated

Van de Graaff Generator

Publication date:
2010 to date

1 file


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Wave Machine

Publication date:
2010 to date

1 file


Average: 5 (1 vote)


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My AS-level physics class made the jelly baby wave machine and had an absolutely fantastic time doing so. They really enjoyed the lesson, and they appreciated the physics and the elegant beauty of the model. They we're so proud of themselves and they all took iphone videos of the wave in motion

Very many thanks for making this available.


Thanks for the positive words, everyone - it's extremely gratifying to know that these films are finding use. ...which isn't to say we don't welcome criticism, of course. There are several things we want to do differently if/when we make more, and your input is incredibly valuable.

David, you're absolutely right - I've goofed on an end credit on the VdG film; will try to get it sorted.

I should write more about the thinking behind the 'teacher' vs. 'students' films. The preference of everyone involved is to help teachers present demonstrations in their own classrooms, but we're trying to cater for a range of circumstances and confidence levels. One thing we need to think about is how we convey the wider goals of the project; it's useful to know that we've not yet got that right.

j mann

Electron Diffraction Tube - I will use this with my Advanced Higher students as we don't have the equipment in school. The video is very clear and helpful - thanks.

Nigel Heslop

The power lines video is really good - including a link to this is the latest upd8/wikid activity. It will be in a unit called Rich, sequence Microgrid.


These videos are ideal. The key for me is that they are “real world” in that they use equipment which most schools should/can have. It is easy to make whizzy demos with a multi-million £ warp core and flux capacitor. Also they are achievable bite sized stand alone activities which can be slotted in as and when.
Importantly, they are also beneficial at different levels, as time and ability allows. If all else fails, the class can be shown the video clip, when possible the teacher can complete the demo and the most desirable of all is using the clip as a launch pad for students to undertake the work.
Just what busy teachers need to encourage them to dust off a bit of kit and do something a little different.

Alom Shaha

Thank you for all the positive comments. We hope to make more of these films later this year. Please feel free to suggest what other demonstrations you'd like to see. We'd also welcome any suggestions you may have about how we can make any aspect of the films better for your use. Thanks again.


are there any good demonstrations for optics?


@polway I'm sure there are good demos for optics, but I regret to say we've not yet filmed any apart from laser diffraction, which I suppose isn't quite 'optics'.

The biggest issue for us is that video cameras like lots of light and optics pracs... don't. The lighting for the electron diffraction tube film took us a heap of time to get right; hopefully nobody watching the film notices, but the experience was enough to steer us away from optics for the next batch of films (coming soon!).

However, a new camera gives us a bit more flexibility, so I'm happy to take optics as a request for a future batch of films. Any more requests from anyone? Areas people think are under-served, specific demos they'd like to see, hints and tips they think we might cover?


Do you have these demostration equipments for sale? My email is:

Ken Halliday

There are a number of really good - and relevant - videos.
Would it be possible to save them to a local hard drive? Full credit for the resource would be given, of course.


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