“We do simple machines in physical science and that is what this class is,” Knox says. “I think it’s more fun and more meaningful if the kids get to something where they get to use a simple machine.”
And all of a sudden a football field becomes a place where physics and physical science come alive.
“They are learning about mechanical advantage. It’s the trade off between distance and force. A lever will give you one or the other, but you pay with the opposite one, so you either get more force less distance, or more distance less force.”
And if you think the kids look happy, remember that their teacher is fulfilling his lifelong love.
“I like science best of all,” he says. “Math is just is good because you can teach it like science, but it rarely gets taught that way.”
The knowledge gained here can be used right down the road, as Mr. Knox’s students move on from Burke County High School and move into their careers.
“It’s really important, especially in an area like this where we’ve got the nuclear plant. We’re not supplying the jobs from this area. We need local work there and these kids are able. I’ve seen kids do world class work here that no one else thinks can do anything. So we really ought to be using the potential we have. They tend to just leave here.”
But that could change with the positive influence of Jerry Knox and his colleagues here at Burke County High School. These students can stay at home and continue to conquer the world.
“My rewards are when the kids are happy and into it. When I see them learn. I just like kids. And if they can learn and enjoy it, that’s twice as good as just learning.”