AAPT Summer Meeting 2021




2020 Summer Meeting Workshops

A number of workshops that were previously scheduled for the 2020 AAPT Summer Meeting in Grand Rapids will be offered virtually. Please see the list below.


All workshops four hours and under will cost $50 for members and $100 for non-members. All workshops over four hours will cost $80 for members and $160 for non-members.

CEU Hours

Earn CEU hours for attending one of the AAPT workshops.  Earn 0.40 hours for a 1/2 day workshop or 0.80 for a full day workshop.


Friday, July 10 

W05: Astronomy Research Seminar
July 10, 2020
Time: 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: Rachel Freed
Participants will learn how to conduct an Astronomy Research Seminar, including how to use online tools to select a project, how to use the Las Cumbres Observatory and Skynet Telescope Networks to collect data, and the analysis software and methods. This will be a hands-on workshop, where each participant will use their own computer to go through the whole process. There will also be a discussion of the process whereby students are taught how to write for scientific publication. After the workshop, online support will be provided to help participants start their own Astronomy Research Seminar with the end goal being to have students submit their own research papers for publication.

W10: Classroom Activities with Black Holes in LIGO Data
July 10, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: Jonah B. Kanner/Co-Organizer: Amber Stuver
Do you want to hear what it sounds like when black holes collide? This workshop will show you how you can use gravitational wave observations in your physics classroom. LIGO and Virgo are currently observing mergers of binary black holes and binary neutron stars. These events – and the signals they produce – can be connected to a range of introductory physics concepts, including wave mechanics, circular motion, Newtonian gravity, and conservation of energy. LIGO and Virgo – the world’s leading gravitational wave observatories – make their data publicly available through a web portal. Bring your laptop, and we’ll use python scripts to download and plot real gravitational-wave signals. Then we’ll explore the physics curriculum learning outcomes that can be demonstrated through these exciting astrophysical events. Workshop take-aways will include activities you can use in class appropriate for both high school or college physics students.

W34: Developing the Next Generation of Physics Assessments 
July 10, 2020
Time: 1:00 to 5:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: James Laverty
Want to write assessments that will give you more evidence about what your students are actually able to do with their physics knowledge? If so, then this is the workshop for you. Participants will learn how to use the Three-Dimensional Learning Assessment Protocol (3D-LAP; a research-based protocol) to develop in-class, homework, and exam problems that engage students in both the process and content of physics. This instrument was developed to help assessment authors at all levels generate questions that include scientific practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas, the three dimensions used to develop the Next Generation Science Standards. Join us to learn how to create the next generation of physics assessments.

(Cancelled) W35: Moving Towards Accessibility in Physics Education with Universal Design for Learning 
July 10, 2020 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM (EDT) and July 17 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM (EDT)
(This is a two day workshop)
Organizer: Jacquelyn J. Chini /Co-Organizers: Erin Scanlon and Westley James 
This workshop will introduce participants to the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework as a tool to design instruction and curricula that support variation in learners’ needs, abilities and interests, with specific focus on students with disabilities. The UDL guidelines emphasize providing supports and options for how students receive information (representation), demonstrate their understanding (action and expression), and engage with the content (engagement). Research shows that popular physics curricula do not enact many UDL-aligned practices. The activities for this workshop will be spread across two days, allowing participants time to think more deeply about the topics before practice applying them on the second day. In Day 1, participants will have the opportunity to: 1) reflect on the impact of ableism on physics culture; 2) reflect on their role in designing instruction that supports variation in students’ needs abilities and interests; and 3) practice applying the guidelines to identify barriers in the learning environment and to design options and supports in sample written curricula and instructional scenarios. On the second day, participants will be invited to reflect on their own written curricula and/or classroom practices and design UDL-aligned strategies to implement. Participants will be offered access to a set of online resources and be invited to contribute to the resources for continuing to plan and implement strategies to make their instruction more accessible. Since the facilitators’ experience is limited to postsecondary settings, this workshop will be appropriate for college/university instructors and curriculum developers. High school teachers and students are welcome to attend.  Workshop content will incorporate views of students with disabilities about student-centered active learning STEM courses

Saturday, July 11 

W01: Learn Physics While Practicing Science: Introduction to ISLE 
July 11, 2020 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM (EDT) and July 12, 2020 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM (EDT)
(This is a two day workshop)
Organizer: David Brookes/Co-Organizers: Eugenia Etkina, Yuhfen Lin, Gorazd Planinsic, and Yuehai Yang
Participants will learn how to modify introductory physics courses at any level to help students acquire a good conceptual foundation, apply this knowledge in problem solving, and engage them in science practices. The framework for these modifications is Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE). We provide tested curriculum materials including: (a) The second edition of College Physics Textbook by Etkina, Planinsic and Van Heuvelen, the Physics Active Learning Guide and the Instructor Guide; (b) a website with over 200 video experiments and activities for use in the classroom, laboratories, and homework; (c) a set of innovative labs in which students design their own experiments. During the workshop the participants will learn how to use the materials in college and high school physics courses to help their students learn physics by practicing it. We will focus on preserving the spirit of ISLE in an online environment. 

W03: Introduction to PC Board Design and Manufacturing
July 11, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: Paul Noel/Co-Organizer: Stephen Irons
Electronic devices can serve many useful purposes within a physics class or lab. They can be used for demonstrations, as part of a laboratory experiment, or serve as a student project. While electronic devices can be assembled on a solderless breadboard or soldered using generic perf board, it is surprisingly easy, and frequently the most inexpensive option to create a more permanent and electrically robust device by designing and ordering a custom printed circuit board (PCB). In this workshop you will learn how to design and manufacture a PCB for instructional uses. We will discuss and use several design options, including the free software EagleCAD and KiCad. Participants will be guided in how to create a schematic, select components, arrange the parts on a circuit board, and route the circuit. We will guide the participant through this process from beginning to end. They will also learn how to create the set of PCB manufacturing files (Gerber files), and the factors one should consider in choosing the particular manufacturer. 

W06: PIRA Lecture Demonstrations I & II Condensed
July 11, 2020
Time: 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: Dale Stille/Co-Organizer: Sam Sampere
During this ½ day workshop, we will introduce you to the Physics Resource Instructional Association (PIRA) and the PIRA 200. Almost every demonstration one can think of has a catalog number within the Demonstration Classification System (DCS); we will introduce you to this system and the comprehensive bibliography that details journal articles and demonstration manuals for construction and use in the classroom. The PIRA 200 are the specific 200 most important and necessary demonstrations needed to teach an introductory physics course. We will also show a subset of approximately 50 demonstrations explaining use, construction, acquisition of materials, and answer any questions in this highly interactive and dynamic environment. Ideas for organizing and building your demonstration collection will be presented. We especially invite faculty members teaching introductory physics to attend. 

W43: Interactive Lecture Demonstrations (ILDs) and RealTime Physics (RTP) Adapted for Active Distance Learning
July 11, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: David Sokoloff
With the need for distance learning materials thrust upon us alarmingly and suddenly, it is not unreasonable that many have fallen back on passive presentation of lectures and black/whiteboard notes using some mode of video conferencing. But is it possible to maintain some element of active learning for our introductory physics students? My colleagues and I have attempted to adapt both Interactive Lecture Demonstrations (ILDs) and RealTime Physics (RTP) for use in distance learning. We've used the wealth of multimedia materials currently available (videos, simulations, photos, computer-based laboratory graphs, etc.) to adapt ILDs (1), (2), (3) to a form that can be used by students at home (4). While recognizing that small-group discussions--and sharing in any way--may be difficult for most faculty to implement, these Home Adapted ILDs retain predictions as an essential element in engaging students in the learning process. For introductory lab activities, we have adapted RTP Mechanics (5) for use at home with the IOLab--an inexpensive, computer-based laboratory device (6). 

In this workshop, we will first review the design features of ILDs and RTP. Then we will work with some examples of Home Adapted ILDs. We will also explore the distance learning RTP labs for IOlab and discuss implementation issues.

(1) David R. Sokoloff and Ronald K. Thornton, “Using Interactive Lecture Demonstrations to Create an Active Learning Environment,” Phys. Teach. 35: 6, 340 (1997).

(2) David R. Sokoloff and Ronald K. Thornton, Interactive Lecture Demonstrations (Hoboken, NJ, John Wiley and Sons, 2004).

(3) David R. Sokoloff, “Active Learning of Introductory Light and Optics,” Phys. Teach. 54: 1, 18 (2016).

(4) https://pages.uoregon.edu/sokoloff/HomeAdaptedILDs.html

(5) David R. Sokoloff, Ronald K. Thornton and Priscilla W. Laws, “RealTime Physics: Active Learning Labs Transforming the Introductory Laboratory,” Eur. J. of Phys., 28 (2007), S83-S94.

(6) https://pages.uoregon.edu/sokoloff/IOLabInst32120.html


Friday, July 17  

W37: Using RTOP to Improve Physics and Physical Science Teaching
July 17, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: Kathleen Falconer/Co-Organizer: Daniel MacIsaac
The Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) is a 25-item rubric that provides a percentile measure of the degree and type of student-centered, constructiv-ist, inquiry-based, engagement in an instructional situation. RTOP scores correlate very highly with student conceptual gains. In this workshop, we will score video vignettes of teaching to learn how to use RTOP for guiding personal reflection and improvement and change of our own teaching; for mentoring peers, novice teachers and student teachers; and to establish a vocabulary for discussing reformed teaching practices.

W38: World Wide Data Day
July 17, 2020
Time: 1:00 to 5:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: Shane Wood/Co-Organizer: Kenneth Cecire
If you have computers and internet in your school, you can bring data from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to your classroom. World Wide Data Day (W2D2) is an annual activity in which teachers and students do an analysis of muon tracks in LHC that is designed to be done in 2 class periods with or without outside assistance. On the day itself, classes at schools all over the world have video conferences with particle physicists to discuss the results. Learn how to implement the W2D2 measurements in your classroom and get your school involved. 

W15 - Get the Facts Out: Changing the Conversation Around Physics Teachers Recruitment
July 17, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: Drew Isola /Co-Organizer: Wendy Adams
In this workshop we will share strategies and resources for recruiting students into physics, chemistry, math and general science teaching careers. The strategies include recommendations for sharing facts about teaching, how to talk to students, listing of venues for reaching students, updated recommendations and resources for sharing the facts virtually. The online resources provided include student presentations, posters, brochures, program flyer templates and presentations for faculty and staff who advise students. All materials are professional quality, research-based and have been extensively user-tested. These materials have been developed as part of Get the Facts Out, an NSF funded project for changing the conversation around STEM teaching recruitment. The project is a partnership between the American Physical Society, American Chemical Society, the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, and AAPT led by the Colorado School of Mines. This workshop is fully funded by NSF #1821710 & 1821462. Participants who complete this workshop can be reimbursed for their workshop registration fee.

W27 - Machine Learning in PER
Date: July 17, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: Rachel Henderson /Co-Organizers: Nicholas Young and Danny Caballero
Physics Education Research has long collected quantitative data sets. These data sets have been traditionally examined using descriptive statistics and classical analysis frameworks. Machine learning has expanded the traditional analysis toolbox by adding tools that are more adept at examining data commonly collected in PER (e.g., categorical data, text data, social network data). The University of Oslo/Michigan State University joint Learning Machines Lab (http://learningmachineslab.github.io) has created a collection of Jupyter notebooks that introduce researchers in DBER to machine learning. This workshop will bridge the gap between the traditional quantitative data sets collected by PER and new machine learning tools available in the python programming environment. Participants will be exposed to various modeling techniques (regression and classification) and will participate in a group research project using real PER data. Participants should have a laptop with Anaconda Python 3.x installed.

Friday, July 24

W23 - Activities from the Living Physics Portal 
Date: July 24, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: Nancy Beverly /Co-Organizer: Sam McKagan
Join other highly engaged physics instructors in exploring, re-thinking and adapting introductory physics activities and assignments for health science and life science students to emphasize interdisciplinary connections. Participants will be exposed to practical changes they can implement at their home institutions that put students’ experiences at the center of classroom interactions. Participants will join a growing network of physics instructors who share curricular materials and troubleshoot instructional challenges through the Living Physics Portal. Participants will use the Portal to share resources and collaborate with other physics educators. Instructors, lab managers, & community college faculty and those with varying degrees of familiarity with physics for life scientists or active learning are welcome! The goals of the workshop are to enable and excite participants to (a) make curricular or lab changes, (b) focus on students’ experiences and learning, and (c) make physics personally meaningful and coherent with students’ other STEM knowledge.

W26 - Coding Integration in High School Physics and Physical Science
Date: July 24, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: Chris Orban/Co-Organizer: Richelle Teeling-Smith
Ever wondered how to integrate a little bit of coding into a high school physics class without overwhelming your students or taking up lots of class time? This hands on workshop will provide an overview of simple, conceptually-motivated exercises where students construct games like asteroids and angry birds using a free in-browser editor that works great on chromebooks or whatever devices you have. Following that we will show you how to use stemcoding.osu.edu which is a free "learning management system" that is designed to facilitate using coding activities in sizable classes. This framework also includes assessment questions designed to probe whether students are building their conceptual knowledge as they complete the activities. We will share with you a full set of lesson guides and solutions for over 17 different simple coding activities for high school physics and physical science, all of which produce PhET-like interactives. If you have enjoyed seeing coding tutorial videos on the STEMcoding youtube channel (http://youtube.com/c/STEMcoding ) here is your chance to do a deep dive! The STEMcoding project is led by Prof. Chris Orban from Ohio State Physics and Prof. Richelle Teeling-Smith in the physics department at the University of Mt. Union. The STEMcoding project is supported in part by the 2017 AIP Meggers Project Award.

W18 - Introducing Students and Testing Hypotheses via Abstract Games
Date: July 24, 2020
Time: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: David Maloney
In this workshop participants will explore two activities using abstract strategy games that introduce students to the scientifically important processes of formulating and testing hypotheses. Since almost all students have experience playing games this approach to having students engage in these reasoning processes is more “user-friendly” than having them engage with physics content. In addition using abstract strategy games allows for comparisons in how the processes work in different knowledge domains. These activities also help students become comfortable actively working in groups for interactive engagement courses. After exploring both activities the workshop will close with a general discussion of how such activities and the nature of science might fit into various courses. Participants will be given an extended set of materials for each of the two activities.

Saturday July 25

W12 - Technical Competencies in Laboratory Courses
Dates : July 25, 2020 and July 26
Time:  10:00 AM to Noon (EDT) on both days
(This is a two day workshop)
Organizer: Randy Tagg/Co-Organizers: Kris Bunker and Devin Pace 
How can physics students develop a repertoire of practical knowledge useful in research and industrial jobs in a way that is enriched by physics concepts and modeling? First, we will delineate types, topics, and levels of technical competency in design and instrumentation that students could achieve. Then explicit examples of apparatus and procedures will show, using a common Jupyter-notebook based instructional format, how physics students develop skills and confidence in such technical competencies. Some of the apparatus will be illustrated online with photos and then sample data sets will be provided for further analysis: for example, a wire pulling device generates stress-versus-strain data to teach students about material mechanical properties. Other apparatus would show how to use python and the “Firmata” protocol to interact with Arduinos for data acquisition and control. A final portion of the workshop will be an open discussion in which we imagine real-world contexts in which such competencies are needed and then prioritize the specific technical competencies that physics students might aim to acquire.

W21 - Using Astronomy Demonstration Videos
July 25, 2020
Time:  9:00 AM to 1:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: Kevin Lee/Co-Organizer: Emily Welch
This project is developing a series of more than 40 videos centered on physical demonstrations that are ideal for use in introductory astronomy and physics courses. They can be utilized in the classroom, in homework and in distance education courses. Interactive materials accompany or are incorporated into many videos, consistent with the recommendations of educational research to maximize student learning from demonstrations. These videos are hosted on YouTube and on the Astronomy Education web site at the University of Nebraska, a site that is widely used by astronomy educators. Workshop participants will be exposed to the underlying pedagogy of the videos and then experience them first in the role of the student and then in the role of instructor. Participants will only pay $25 to attended this workshop, since the rest will be covered by a grant. This project is funded by NSF award #1245679.  

W33 - Teaching Physics towards Social Justice
Date: July 25, 2020
Time:  11:00 AM to 1:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: Moses Rifkin/Co-Organizers: Abigail Daane, Danny Doucette, Andrew Morrison, and Johan Tabora
Motivated by our shared desire to address under-representation in physics and support systematically marginalized groups, we have created a flexible, modular curriculum designed to help physics instructors bring conversations about science and society into our classrooms. Topics include: under-representation in STEM, systemic racism, implicit bias, stereotype threat, and the myth of meritocracy in a physics context. Attendees will experience the curriculum first-hand, and learn how to implement it in their own classrooms.

W39 - Intermediate and Advanced Laboratories
Date: July 25, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: Jeremiah Williams
This workshop is appropriate for college and university instructional laboratory developers. At each of five stations, presenters will demonstrate an approach to an intermediate or advanced laboratory exercise. Each presenter will show and discuss the apparatus and techniques used. Attendees will cycle through the stations and have an opportunity to use each apparatus. Documentation will be provided for each experiment, with sample data, equipment lists, and construction or purchase information.

Sunday, July 26

W36 - Work and Energy Workshops
Date: July 26, 2020
Time:  1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: Gay Stewart
Energy and systems are fundamental, crosscutting science concepts, and physics is the place to help students develop a deeper conceptual understanding. However, students hear what we say, not what we mean! Trying to simplify our discussions of work and energy (particularly potential energy) can generate increased confusion. What could be a single approach to solving a wide variety of problems becomes compartmentalized into many special cases to be memorized. What we mean is so clear to those of us “in the club” that assessments are not always designed to elicit the incorrect models many students hold. In Learning and Understanding (2002), the National Research Council presented design principles vital to improving the effectiveness of AP and introductory college courses in the U.S. Focusing on key ideas and providing ample opportunities to explore them in depth is one recommendation perfectly served by a more careful approach to energy and systems. We will look at a few examples of how common wording can generate incorrect models, and then spend our time considering how to help our students develop a single coherent conceptual model that significantly impacts their ability to use more robust problem-solving approaches and to describe and model physical situations.

W29 - Fillip The Physics Classroom! A How to Guide to Making your own Flipped Instructional Videos
Date: July 26, 2020
Time:  10:00 AM to 2:00 PM (EDT)
Organizer: Vanessa Wentzloff
Ever wondered what it would be like to try to flip the instruction in your classroom? This workshop will explore the benefits and approaches to flipping your physics instruction AND will help you make your first flipping instructional videos. Come ready with a lesson topic and your best video persona and leave with a new skill and a starter video.

Friday, July 31

Date: July 31. 2020 (EDT)
Time: 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Organizer: Nicole Harvey/Co-organizers: Brian Kays, Mark Wadness
High school physics teachers, in particular, have been found to be critical to inspiring young women who pursue undergraduate physics. Come to this workshop to learn how to be a part of a national campaign for high school physics teachers and their students, STEP UP for Women (Supporting Teachers to Encourage Pursuit of Undergraduate Physics for Women). During this workshop, learn about gender representation in physics in the U.S. and around the world, and engage in active strategies and two specific lessons that are demonstrated to enhance the physics identity of young women. If only one-third of high school physics teachers was able to recruit an interested young woman to a physics undergraduate program, gender imbalance upon enrollment would be offset. Undergraduate faculty have a special role to welcome and retain these young women. Whoever you might be, be a part of the change! (This workshop is fully funded by NSF #1720810. Participants who complete the workshop may seek full reimbursement of their workshop registration fee.)



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Some photos courtesy of experiencegr.com