AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers

2014 AAPT Physics Days

Richmond       Orlando       Long Beach


NSTA Area Conference: Richmond, VA
October 2014

AAPT Representative: David Wright

"AAPT" 2400 Years of Electricity from Amber to Batteries
Presenter: Bob Morse
Inexpensive hands-on qualitative experiences with electricity from 600 BCE to 1800 CE bring electrical magic to classrooms from middle school to college.

This workshop will present simple experiments and demonstrations on electrostatics from 600 BCE to 1800 CE. Using inexpensive modern materials, participants will get a quick hands and minds-on experimental tour of electrostatics to the beginning of the age of electric circuits. Although no kites will be flown, they will have a chance to participate in important experiments that can be readily employed in their classrooms from elementary science to high school and beyond. Selected resources will be pointed out.

Link to more information about Electrostatics featuring the presenter of this workshop: http://www.compadre.org/psrc/Franklin/

"AAPT" Using Broom Ball to Teach Newton's First Law of Motion
Presenters: Joseph Mahler and Tim Couillard
The workshop instructors will lead the participants through a Modeling lab that is intended to help students develop a model for Newton's First Law of Motion.

The Next Generation Science Standards emphasizes that students will use the scientific method to “develop and use” models that describe the physical word. In this hands-on workshop the participants will take on the role of science students as the workshop instructors lead the participants through a Modeling lab that is intended to help students develop a model for Newton’s First Law of Motion. The participants in this workshop will complete a portion of the Modeling Cycle which will include completing the inquiry based lab (Broom Ball), sharing lab data and engaging in scientific argumentation from the data collected through a process known as “whiteboarding”, and model development. After the participants have completed whiteboarding the lab, the instructors will utilize what the participants have learned and experienced in the workshop to help them develop a basic understanding of the Modeling Method as well as provide additional resources pertaining to Modeling. The session will end with Q&A time and a door prize give a way.

Link to more information about “Modeling”: http://modelinginstruction.org/

For more information, please visit: http://www.nsta.org/conferences/

NSTA Area Conference: Orlando, FL
November 2014
AAPT Representative: Kevin Thomas, University of Central Florida

Modeling Physics in the Classroom
According to the American Modeling Teaching Association, “The Modeling Method has been developed to correct many weaknesses of the traditional lecture-demonstration method, including the fragmentation of knowledge, student passivity, and the persistence of naive beliefs about the physical world.” This session will focus on a basic introduction to implementing Modeling Instruction in the high school physics classroom, and skills learned from the AMTA summer workshops.

Setting the Stage: Knowing Physics Isn’t Enough
Teaching physics and knowing physics are not the same thing. Knowing the standards is not the same as making the material interesting or creating an engaging learning environment. The goal of this session is to model and discuss methods for "selling" physics to your audience. Think of it as a chance to explore the side of teaching that involves helping people see why you're interested in the topic.

Citizen Science in the Classroom
Citizen science is a unique way to involve non-professional scientists (or aspiring scientists!) in gathering or analyzing data for use in scientific research. In this workshop, we'll explore what citizen science is, what opportunities there are for participation, and how to use citizen science to get students involved with active scientific research.

‘Sunsational’ Solar Electricity: The Physics of Photovoltaics
Explore the basics of photovoltaic technology using hands-on, minds-on learning techniques for students in grades 6 through 12. Next Generation Science Standards (Disciplinary Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts, and Scientific and Engineering Practices) will be highlighted during this ‘electrifying’ session.

Physics Pedagogy: Implementation of Studio style and SCALE-UP Physics at UCF

Choose Your Own Adventure: Studio Physics Courses at UCF
Studio mode physics courses, featuring integration of course components, were introduced by Jack Wilson at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the 1990s. In the years since, several studio methods have gained popularity in physics courses. At the University of Central Florida, we are employing a variety of studio methods, from fully integrated SCALE-UP style courses in the style made popular by Bob Beichner at North Carolina state University, to "mini-studios" that retain a reformed lecture component, to integrated "experiment problems". This session will focus on the advantages and barriers to implementation of a range of studio methods of physics instruction.

3-D Printing As a Tool for STEM Learning
With the growing accessibility to 3-D printers, it is now possible for a high school classroom to learn about this amazing technology and develop their own objects for experiments, art, or even

fund raising! In this workshop we will discuss what Physics classrooms can do with a 3-D printer, motivating your students to be engaged, and building a justification for funding.

For more information, please visit: http://www.nsta.org/conferences/

NSTA Area Conference: Long Beach, CA
December 2014

AAPT Representative: James Lincoln

Physics Education Techniques
Problem solving is widely considered one of the most import sets of skills for success in physics courses, yet many students struggle to solve real-world problems.  Too often teachers and textbooks portray problem solving as a collection of algorithms and heuristics, which inadequately prepare students.  Textbook examples do not capture the process of problem solving as they only present polished, error-free solutions, not the thinking that lead to them.  Showing students the thought process of experts and novices can help them better understand how to solve problems.   Students are also instructed to verbalize their thought process in the form of a “think-aloud.”  This makes what is essentially an internal thought process explicit, allowing improved feedback to the students. The feedback and assessment focuses on students’ self-regulation or self-monitoring as they solve physics problems.  Too often textbooks and teachers fail to teach students how to self-monitor during a solution, instead trivializing this critical skill to the end of the solution in a final “review” or “looking back” step.  Instead, we teach students to self-monitor throughout their solution. In this workshop the presenters will share their experience in incorporating think-aloud components into their courses as well as the results from those courses.
Space Exploration
The Dawn mission addresses is the role of size and water in determining the evolution of the planets. Ceres and Vesta are the right two bodies with which to address this question, as they are the most massive of the protoplanets, baby planets whose growth was interrupted by the formation of Jupiter. Ceres is very primitive and wet while Vesta is evolved and dry. Dawn captures the earliest moments in the origin of the solar system enabling us to understand the conditions under which these objects formed and contrasts the formation and evolution of two small planets that followed very different evolutionary paths so that we understand what controls that evolution. Its journey in time to understand the conditions at the formation of the solar system provides context for the understanding of the observation of extra solar-planetary systems.

History of Physics
Physics offers a cross-discipline perspective to understanding other subjects. The purpose of this paper is to provide examples of physics in literature that physics and astronomy teachers can use to give students an indication of the relevance of science as depicted in the humanities. It is not possible to cite the thousands of examples available. I have tried to select authors whom students would be reading in high school and in college undergraduate English classes: in particular Joseph Conrad, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Shakespeare, H. G. Wells, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Norman Mailer, and an author currently in vogue, Dan Brown. I am sure many reading this article will come up with their own examples.

Physics Teaching Techniques
We have used an online group-building and collaboration tool, “Social Homework” provided by EduDotOnline.com, to support student learning from students taking AP Physics 1 up through the calculus-based physics sequence here at CSU Long Beach, and in upper-division mechanics, thermodynamics, and quantum mechanics courses.  We report on how this group structure has significantly improved student performance without appreciably affecting faculty workload.

Electricity & Magnetism Demos
PTRA Presents "The Best Physics Demonstrations you Aren't Doing." In this Demo Show, participants learn of the lesser known, but greater impact demonstrations that are rarely seen. These are coupled with enhanced versions of old classics. The theme is Electricity & Magnetism with a sub-emphasis on tips on how to make the demos more pedagogically valuable. Transformers are everywhere inside and outside of our homes.  This presentation will describe how transformers work using Faraday and Lenz's law and provide a demonstration that many physics teachers have a hard time understanding.  A student home project measuring how wall warts waste energy will be described.

Public Outreach & Physics Teaching
For many years High School Physics Students have been contributing to ongoing research at UCLA's Plasma Laboratory in Westwood, CA. Highly motivated students are empowered to perform research that would, in previous years, have earned people their PhDs! In this talk the students' experience, their research, and the program are presented.

For more information, please visit: http://www.nsta.org/conferences/