SMITE 2014 Univ. W. Georgia

The University of West Georgia Physics Department hosted 90 teachers in grades 3-12 at a STEM institute June 9-20, 2014.   For more pictures go to the workshop page or #physicsfun2014
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Physics Day at the Water Park

Physics students at Kennedale and Mansfield High Schools studied energy, momentum, and Newton’s Laws at a waterpark, Hawaiian Falls (Mansfield, TX) on May 28, 2014.  Michael Strange, a physics teacher at Kennedale HS, was looking for a different venue to determine if the students really learned what they had been taught during the year.  What a cool way to assess learning!! Students used their iOS devices to read QR codes and take data.  The QR codes gave students some background information for each ride as well as problems they were to solve and data they were to collect.  The QR codes also had quiz questions they were to discuss and be able to solve after they worked through the calculations from their experience. The event was sponsored by UTeach, UTA Science Dept, and local businesses.  NBC News covered the event


AAPT Winter conference news

The 2014 AAPT winter conference was held in Orlando Florida.  Before you get sad about not going to Orlando you may want to check the weather… was cold.  Maybe not as cold as other parts of the nation, but still cold.  Some could not get there due to weather, but there was still a large contingency of PTRAs at the meeting.  There were workshops by members and Perimeter Institute and lots of interesting talks. Jan Mader was awarded the Distinguished Service Citation at the ceremony on Tuesday afternoon. Some got to see a rocket launch from Kennedy Space Center and others make a quick trip to Mickey World.

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Sound App

From Michael:  Found a new-awesome physics app…great page on Beats that demos the actual sound from various diff frequencies…and it’s free!
Sound Uncovered by Exploratorium

STEM is in the wind

The participants at Idaho State University studied energy  as part of their workshop in August 2013.  They made solar ovens and windmills. This short clip shows just how big the actual turbines are

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AAPT meeting and Texas Instruments

The AAPT summer meeting officially began on Sunday (7.14.13) and the PTRAs were there in full force to participate in the sessions, workshops, and committee meetings.  Sometimes we even had time to eat the great food Portland has to offer.  On Tuesday, Kelli Key from Texas Instruments shared some of the new and exciting things TI has to offer for teaching physics….including the TINspire.  A very cool calculator (actually it is more like a computer).


Physics apps and STEM for the classroom, 7/13/13

Using the APS app to determine which gas tube was being used

Using the APS app to determine which gas tube was being used

There are lots of apps, but determining which ones can be most productive in the classroom can be a daunting task.  Michael Strange helped participants focus on apps for physics and general classroom management and then we began the task of “re-engineering” activities to be aligned with NGSS with a focus on the elementary STEM classroom.  Cathy Barthelemy and Katya Denisova helped participants see physics through the eyes of elementary students and participants engaged in a  learning cycle on friction for “Fred on a Sled”.  Our partners from the Perimeter Institute wrapped up the day with challenges of teaching wave particle duality!

Next Generation Science Standards, Engineering, PASCO 7/12/13

Friday began with working on the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) with Dr. Carey Sneider, Dr. Ramon Lopez, and Katya Denisova.  The afternoon was focused on PASCO engineering structures and building paper rocket lauchers.  After dinner the participants did an elementary learning cycle on harnessing the wind and made wind turbines that were engineered to pump water. Physics IS PHUN

iOS Devices, Vernier Video Analysis, DCUs, Egg Engineering 7/11/13

The first day of the summer leadership institute was held onsite at Vernier Software and Technology.  The focus was on the use of iOS devices, Video Physics, use of digital control units (DCUs) in the classroom, and egg engineering.  Lots of learning challenges and fun. Below are photos of the event and videos of the egg engineering “task”

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Summer 2013 Leadership Workshop, Portland OR

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Looking forward to the AAPT/PTRA Leadership Conference and the AAPT National Conference in Portland, OR. Nearly 40 of the best physics teachers across the nation will come together and work on curriculum pertinent to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and how STEM can be a valuable part of any grade level K-12.

Topics include use of iOS devices in the classroom, engineering with digital control units (DCU), engineering designs for K-12, and much more.  Friday morning Dr. Cary Sneider (NGSS writing team leader) and Dr. Ramon Lopez (NGSS team member) will help PTRAs develop a deeper understanding of true meaning the standards and what they should look like in the classroom.  PTRAs will then be able to go back to their home states and districts and empower peers to be stronger in both content and pedagogical understandings for these new challenges.