Special Projects

Get involved with AAPT's ongoing K-12 initiatives to support physics teachers and physics education.

Physics Master Teacher Leader Taskforce
Duration: Summer 2016 - Spring 2017 w/extended opportunities

This taskforce is meant to be a response to the growing national need for teacher leadership at the K-12 level. This is a result of collaborative efforts by the AAPT (including the Physics Teaching Resource Agent program), the American Modeling Teachers Association, and the Physics Teacher Education Coalition. This taskforce will look at ways that the AAPT can support this elevation of the teaching profession through ongoing professional development and leadership programs. See a blog entry announcing the 17 K-12 taskforce members and 13 advisory members.

Events - Get Involved!
The 17 taskforce and advisory members were selected in July 2016, are currently engaging in virtual discussions, and will meet face-to-face at the American Center for Physics from December 2-4. A final report to the AAPT Board describing sample and suggested models for physics teacher leadership will be presented in February 2016. Following the report, a working group is likely to be sought out to begin building and implementing the suggested programs. If interested in learning more, please reach out to rvieyra@aapt.org.

Taskforce Image

American Center for Physics

ESSA STEM Master Teacher Corps
Duration: Summer 2016 - ?

The AAPT works with the Physical Sciences Education Policy Coalition (AAPT, AAS, APS, OSA, AIP) to advance K-12 STEM education in the United States. Particular emphasis has been placed recently on the Every Student Succeeds Act legislation in regard to the currently unappropriated STEM Master Teacher Corps. See a one-pager describing the value of a STEM master teacher corps to the U.S.

Events - Get Involved!
Check out the history of the proposed STEM Master Teacher Corps in federal policy by reading the originating report calling for the national initiative by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST, 2010, pages 56-69), this press release from the White House (White House, 2012), and the legislative language in ESSA (S. 1177, Section 2245). If interested in learning more, please reach out to rvieyra@aapt.org.


Integrating Computational Thinking with ModelingTM in Physics First
Duration: Summer 2016 - Summer 2019

This project is intended to help students understand basic physics concepts by incorporating computer programming as one of the key tools for building models of the physical world. Program partners include the AAPT, the American Modeling Teachers Association, STEMteachersNYC, and Bootstrap of Brown University. Targeted to Physics First courses (typically 8th or 9th grade), during which every student is expected to take science, this initiative is designed to spark students' interest in subjects related to STEM for the rest of their academic careers. This initiative also works to combat the root cause of inequality in pursuing STEM careers: disparate access to quality teaching in middle and high school. This work has been funded by 100Kin10 for two years and the National Science Foundation (STEM+C 1640791) for three years. See a press release announcing the award of the $195,000 grant from 100Kin10 and a blog post announcing the award of $1.247M from the National Science Foundation. Read more about "Why Computational Modeling in Physics?"

Get Involved!
The first workshop in August 2016 involved 12 middle and high school physics teachers from the New York area. This academic year, the teachers are testing the alpha version of the materials in their own classrooms. Additional opportunities for involvement by both NY teachers as well as for teachers nation-wide in the summers of 2017, 2018, and 2019. A generous stipend (and travel costs, for non-local teachers) is available on a limited basis by application. If interested, please reach out to rvieyra@aapt.org.

100Kin10 CS Modeling

Whiteboards CS

PhysTEC Teacher of the Year Award
Duration: Fall 2016 - Winter 2017

Co-led by the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) is an organization of over 300 institutions dedicated to improving and promoting physics teacher education. This year, PhysTEC has initiated the first ever PhysTEC Teacher of the Year program to recognize exemplary physics teaching graduates from PhysTEC institutions. The selected national PhysTEC Teacher of the Year will receive travel stipends to PhysTEC and AAPT conferences, as well as a grant for classroom materials.

Events - Get Involved!
PhysTEC is currently looking for candidates for the Teacher of the Year program. Candidates must be nominated by their PhysTEC institution and teachers must submit the application by November 1. Qualified teachers should notify their departments to express their interest. For further information, please reach out to rvieyra@aapt.org.

PhysTEC TotY Icon

PhysTEC Institutions Map

NASA Heliophysics Education Consortium
Duration: Summer 2016 - Summer 2021

This project will engage the higher education physics and astronomy education communities in developing integrated resources for teaching about the sun at the introductory and upper division college physics levels and for K-12 pre-service teacher education. This is a collaborative effort between the AAPT and its partner Temple University, along with NASA and over a dozen other coalition members. Across five years, the team will pull from physics education and astronomy education research to create easy-to-implement resources such as concept test questions and tutorials. See the NASA press release about the award to the HEC (and the $225,000 subaward) to the AAPT/Temple team. See a poster describing these efforts.

Events - Get Involved!
In the fall of 2016, the team will meet October 3 and 4 for primary planning and resource development. Special workshops will be available at the AAPT summer and winter meetings in anticipation of the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. Workshops will also be held at a variety of other locations on various heliophysics topics over the next five years. If interested, please reach out to rvieyra@aapt.org.

Eclipse Model

HEC Team

For more details and information about AAPT's K12 Programs, please contact the K-12 Program Manager, at K12programs@aapt.org