Archive for Category ‘Energy Project‘

Energy Project Summer Institutes (EPSRI)

In a Summer Research Institute (SRI), a team of researchers gathers to document and study a rich instructional context with a common, rich data set; mentor one another in a dynamic, problem-oriented framework; and develop collaborations based on their work together. In the Energy Project Summer Research Institutes (EPSRIs), scholars from around the country gather to observe, videotape, and conduct research on the Energy Project professional development courses.  The EPSRI was developed by Rachel Scherr and Sam McKagan in 2010 in response to (1) the Energy Project’s need for diverse perspectives on its research and (2) the Physics Education Research (PER) community’s needs for research collaboration opportunities and training in qualitative video analysis methods. June’s EPSRI Scholars observed professional development courses for elementary teachers.

Products of the EPSRI include:

  • 120 hours of video (approximately 1 terabyte of data).
  • 30 video episodes.  Each episode gives us a useful entry point into the data corpus.
  • 170 pages of field notes, documenting the minute-by-minute action of the observed classes in a searchable format.
  • 45 reflective posts to the EPSRI Scholars blog, each representing a bit of insight into the data, technical expertise, research question, reflection on the methodology, etc.
  • New technical expertise regarding state-of-the-art videocameras, technology for collaborative real-time field notes, and remote audio observation.
  • New relationships:  scholar-scholar, scholar-instructor, and scholar-teacher, significantly expanding our professional learning community.

June 2011 EPSRI Scholars (alphabetical order)

Krishna Chowdary, Faculty, The Evergreen State College, Olympia

Emma Kahle, Undergraduate, Columbia University, New York

Siri Mehus, Faculty, University of Washington College of Education, Seattle

Lane Seeley, Faculty, Department of Physics, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle

Mackenzie Stetzer, Faculty, University of Washington Department of Physics, Seattle

Enrique Suarez, Graduate Student, Tufts University, Boston


Undergraduate Research Presented at National Conference

The SPU Physics Department offers opportunities for undergraduates to participate in departmental research. Recently, Kayla Hegedus, a visiting student at SPU from Whitman College, worked with the Physics Department’s Energy Project and produced a poster which she presented at the 2011 Women in Physics conference. Kayla will also present her research at the Foundations and Frontiers of Physics Education Research (FFPER) conference in March and at the Whitman Undergraduate Conference in April.

Our congratulations goes out to Kayla and to the Energy Project support team!

You can view Kayla’s poster here: Argumentation Poster

Visualizing Physics

Justin RuskIn Autumn Quarter 2009 and Winter Quarter 2010, the Physics Department worked with Karen Gutowsky-Zimmerman, Professor of Visual Communication, and her class to develop new visual representations of physics concepts.

This collaboration encouraged visual communications students to think through the ways that physics works in the everyday world, and it deepened the Physics Department’s understanding of the value of the visual representation of scientific models. Check out some of the students’ final projects!

Danelle Vermeulen
Phase Change Through States of Matter” (PDF)
How Phase Change Makes a Difference” (PDF)

Jack Stoller

Gas and Diesel” (PDF)
Gas Molecules” (PDF)

Justin Rusk

Energy Transfers and Money” (PDF)
Electromagnetic Solar Energy” (PDF)