September 2023: AdeBanjo Oriade
University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware
- Member since 2008
- Assistant Professor of Physics & Astronomy
- Newark, Delaware
My getting into physics, I imagine, is like winning a lottery. Joseph Oriade, my father, was the physics teacher who made me fall in love with doing, learning, and teaching physics. He earned a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and he was teaching at the University of Jos, Nigeria. As a student and later as a teacher in Nigeria, much of my physics adventures were abstract and done primarily with pen and paper. My work now, teaching physics with a spectrum of tools, blending experimental, computational, and theoretical experiences, is a more incredible adventure. An example is the use of video analysis tools such that matching points aid learning on a graph with frames in the video.
I joined the AAPT to meet and see work done by other physics teachers. The variety of learning tools and resources available at AAPT meetings helps me grow as a physics teacher. At AAPT in-person and virtual events, I delight in learning about new tools and seeing new ways of using old resources. Many of my students have majors outside the set of science majors - a good number majoring in Elementary Teacher Education. I use collaborative learning activities and work with an instructional team that creates multiple opportunities for reflection on and extension of the concepts and skills learned. I created a course using paper folding for active learning of concepts in Mathematics and Physics. Picture learning trigonometry from a triangle you just made by folding paper. I have run some exercises created for class at the public library and during secondary school camps on campus. In one exercise, students predict the outcome of a race between three designs of a glider. They then build the gliders and excitedly record video of the race for analysis. I also supervise events (like “Sounds of Music”, “Chopper Challenge”) at the Delaware Science Olympiad.
My favorite things about teaching and doing physics are excitement (cliff-hanging anticipation of going through a process, not knowing how it will turn out) and surprise (getting unexpected results and acquiring valuable skills like wit, grit, and critical thinking). A challenge is getting more students to have this excitement. Another challenge is retention (of students and teachers); doing and teaching physics is hard work. Working with a team and applying best practices helps with these and other challenges.