Apply
UHart

Students Create Tik Tok Videos to Improve Understanding of Physics Concepts

November 29, 2023
Physics lesson on TikTok
Physics lesson on TikTok

Students new to learning physics got a boost to their understanding of the subject by watching TikTok videos created by their peers. Associate Professor of Physics Hashini Mohottala and six students enrolled in her Mechanics of the Human Body course had their research on the subject published this month in the Creative Education journal. “We believe this is the first time TikTok instructional videos for physics were created by students for their classmates,” says Mohottala who integrated the student-created TikTok videos to teach introductory physics concepts to students last fall. 

The use of TikTok in the classroom came about after Mohottala found her students’ understanding of algebra and physics were all over the spectrum due to the disruption of high school classes during the pandemic. Frustrated by the fact that more than half of the students had not taken high school physics and 40 percent were not confident in their algebra skills, six of her students studying exercise science and physical therapy, came up with the idea of creating “Phys-TikTok” videos.

“The students were able to present their work in a fun and engaging way,” she says. “They mixed music, dancing, and even driving cars around campus.” She explained one the first videos they created addressed converting miles per hour (mph) to kilometers per hour (kph). It showed a student confusing the two while driving in Canada with speed limits ranging from a minimum of 50 km/hr. to a maximum of 120 km/hr.

Even UHart’s Public Safety Department played a role in the video by “pulling over” a student driving well over the speed limit. The video went on to explain the step-by-step process of unit conversions on a whiteboard which effectively conveyed the essential role it plays in physics problem-solving.

“My experience with Phys-TikTok was amazing,” says Rohan Jacob, exercise science ‘25/ DPT ’28. “The experience was a great time to get creative and make a funny engaging video with my classmates. I think Phys-TikTok was successful in teaching students about physics because of the short quick videos. It kept students engaged while teaching them how to solve the problem.”

Mohottala taught four sections of the Mechanics of the Human Body class and found that when comparing the answers to five physics problems, the section that used Phys-TikTok in their lessons answered the questions with greater confidence and higher accuracy that the sections that did not.  

All the physics lessons and TikTok videos can be viewed on the Phys-TikTok website.

My experience with Phys-TikTok was amazing. It was a great time to get creative and make a funny engaging video with my classmates. I think Phys-TikTok was successful in teaching students about physics because of the short quick videos. It kept students engaged while teaching them how to solve the problem.

Rohan Jacob, exercise science ‘25/DPT ’28.

For Media Inquiries

Mary Ingarra