Physics teacher finds peculiar substitute

October 12, 2009 — by Girish Swaminath

Physics teacher Kirk Davis dresses as Issac Newton for his classes on Sept. 28.

Halloween came a month early for physics teacher Kirk Davis, who dressed up as Sir Isaac Newton on Monday, Sept. 28, to educate students about the life and importance of the historical figure.

The Friday before, Davis told his five physics periods they would have a substitute. So students were surprised when a man wearing a wig with an apple in it and a black gown appeared in front of the class and began teaching. The “sub” declined to be called “Mr. Davis” and instead insisted on being addressed as “Mr. Newton.”

“I did [the dress-up day] last year as well just to bring a little bit of lightness in,” said Davis. “I just want to make physics class memorable and fun for [all my students].”

Newton discovered the principle of gravity in the 18th century when he was sitting under an apple tree and an apple fell on his head. Newton died in 1727.

Davis recalls being “bored to death” in some of his high school classes and does not want his students to feel the same way.

“Whenever any of my teachers had more interactive or hands-on activities, I tended to pay more attention,” said Davis. “I would remember things a bit more, as opposed to when they stand up and lecture.”

Although Davis hoped the change in identity would be fun, he wanted to make sure it was still a productive class.

“No matter how fun this may be, I want to make sure that I am not distracting students or allowing them to goof off,” said Davis.

Students, such as senior Dhruv Seshadri, found Davis’s trick extremely shocking.

“I was extremely surprised at finding out that Mr. Davis dressed up as Sir Isaac Newton,” said Seshadri. “But I really like how he tries to make physics a better experience for all of us.”