Blackout Poetry using Physics Text

I like to occasionally take the time in my lessons to do something creative.

blackout 3

This activity was inspired by seeing similar poetry created by students in another school on twitter (sorry I can’t recall who posted it). It was for an English lesson. Combined with me finding an old physics book I bought years ago that is now mainly indecipherable to me! and failed to sell on Amazon books 😉 Rather than throw it away, I realised I could put it to good use in my lessons.

So here’s our source material:

It’s a great book. But it’s half equations and I can’t pretend to understand it any more. It’s great source material for this activity because, to the students, the text is complete gobbledygook.  Excellent!

So, challenge one: Year 13 had 20 mins after going through an exam in detail. I set them the task to create a black out poem from a page from the Atomic Nuclei book. I did one too 🙂 (Mine is the blue one above. It’s like an old computer game or adventure book).

It was really difficult to pick out words that could make coherent sentences. The students struggled, but were delighted when they ended up with something that made sense! and possibly even sounded like a profound statement…

blackout 2

Here’s a close up of that last one:

blackout 1

I also did this with my year 10 Physics group. I love that it went from audible groans (they’re a cheeky bunch) when I said ‘today, we are going to create some poetry’ to real enthusiasm to create something good from their page.

My advice: Get a dense, complicated text on your subject and give it a try!



This entry was posted in A level, Activity, books, General, Ks4 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Blackout Poetry using Physics Text

  1. Andy "SuperFly" Rundquist says:

    This is really great! The students get to have fun with a difficult text in a way that doesn’t shut them down. It reminds me of an assignment I once did for extra credit: write a haiku poem about the chapter’s material. It forced them to use vocabulary in a new way.

    My question: How would this change if they did it for an easier text?


    • audsley says:


      Their biggest challenge was that most of the words were not part of their vocabulary. Even the non-physics terms. It made it hard for them to even piece a sentence together.

      An easier text would have given them more options for the poetry they created.


  2. TheDarkestRaven says:

    This is very creative. Thank you for sharing. 🙂


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