Archive for Category ‘Teaching Physics‘

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


Highlighting SPU Noyce Scholar Zach Brenneman

Zach Brenneman, an SPU physics student and Noyce Scholar, was recently highlighted by “SPU Stories.” Check it out and learn what makes him excited about teaching physics.

Noyce Scholarships Offer Opportunity

SPU is privileged to be a PhysTEC Noyce site awarding scholarships to qualified physics students who are interested in making a difference in students’ lives by teaching in high-needs school districts.

But who are these students? Read on to learn about Katie Klug and Benjamin Zupke, two SPU Noyce scholars, and review other scholars on the SPU Noyce site. If you’re interested in joining this inspiring group of people, email Lane Seeley.

Meet Noyce Scholar Katie Klug

Katie KlugKatie Klug has a Master of Arts in Teaching degree (2010), with certifications in chemistry and physics. She is teaching at the high school level.

What Teacher has been most influential in your life?
My high school chemistry teacher made me reconsider my sworn hatred of science and see how I could apply my skill in math to “real life.”

What experiences are you currently looking forward to in this coming year?
I’m teaching in the Lake Washington District now at the high school level, and have already thoroughly enjoyed the first weeks of the school year. Though it’s still hard to believe I got a job my first year out of the MAT program, I’m so excited to see how far my students grow this year and how much I develop as a teacher and mentor.

Read the rest of Katie’s profile.

Meet Noyce Scholar Benjamin Zupke

Benjamin ZupkeBenjamin D. Zupke is pursuing his Washington State teacher certificate and a Master in Teaching through the Alternative Routes to Certification (ARC) program at Seattle Pacific. He wants his certification in physics and plans to teach at the high school level.

What are you most excited to be offering to your students?
I am most excited to become a teacher and fulfill the role model figure that most teachers have for their students. I am also excited to share with students the wonders of physics and how it is such an integral part of our daily lives and if they are to pursue a career in the science field that they might never get bored with their work.

Anything you would say to someone considering applying for a Noyce scholarship?
I have been told and I believe that this scholarship is a great way to help pay for tuition costs, and its requirements can easily be met. For one year of tuition help you will need to serve in a public school classified in a high-needs school district for two years. The wonderful part about this is that even though the first two years or so of your teaching career are the toughest, by the end of it you will know if you want to become a teacher. With the Noyce scholarship you are able to minimize the cost of becoming a teacher and if you do not like it after giving it a shot for two years, the scholarship requirements have already been met. So if you are a person who is strongly considering teaching as a career it is a great scholarship that allows you to get started into that career.

Read the rest of Benjamin’s profile

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)