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Wednesday afternoon
3:10-3:20 p.m. Learning through Computation in Upper-
Division Physics
Contributed – David Roundy, Oregon State University, 301 Weniger Hall,
Corvallis, OR 97331;
I will describe a computational laboratory course that I have developed
to help students in learning upper-division courses. The course runs in
parallel to their junior year courses, covering the same physics topics and
many of the same mathematical methods. Students work in pairs, and write
their programs with little guidance from the instructor. Results from less
than two years of teaching this course suggest that students find it helpful,
including students who join our program with no computer programming
3:20-3:30 p.m. Of Cats and Students: Discovering
Quantum Information with Undergraduates
Contributed – Jean-Francois S. Van Huele, Brigham Young University, N151
ESC, BYU, Provo, UT 84602-4681;
Can you violate the Heisenberg uncertainty relation? How do quantum op-
erations work? What new insight does weak measurement provide? What
restrictions exactly apply to cloning? When does entanglement come in
handy? And what’s a quantum Cheshire cat? Quantum theory has evolved
significantly beyond its traditional coverage in the physics curriculum.
About all that we need to constrain quantum mysteries are linear algebra
and creative thinking. This turns quantum information into fertile ground
for undergraduate research projects and teaching. I review my experience
with students and their projects and give examples on how to ask questions
of current relevance in quantum theory and get the students to answer
3:30-3:40 p.m. Thermally Induced Structural Change
Measured by Holographic Non-Destructive Testing
Contributed – Ralph E. Oberly, Marshall University, One John Marshall Drive,
Huntington, WV 25755;
Anthony Hernandez, Marshall University
This project is to observe the structural change of a rigid body using
holographic non-destructive testing. Through the application of a specific
voltage to a Peltier heating and cooling device, it is possible to produce
a controlled temperature change on the surface of the object. Using the
technique of double-exposure, a hologram can be generated that shows an
interference pattern between the shape of the original object at rest and
its shape after some sort of physical deformation. The goal is to view the
way that heat propagates through a three-dimensional object using this
technique, and the object’s physical deformation over time with respect to
controlled temperature change.
3:40-3:50 p.m. On-Ramp: Improving Students’
Understanding of Lock-In Amplifiers*
Contributed – Seth T. DeVore,** University of Pittsburgh, Department of Phys-
ics and Astronomy, Pittsburgh, PA 15213;
Chandralekha Singh, Jeremy Levy, University of Pittsburgh
A lock-in amplifier is a powerful and versatile instrument frequently used
in condensed matter physics research. However, many students struggle
with the basics of a lock-in amplifier and they have difficulty in interpret-
ing the data obtained with this device in diverse applications. To improve
students’ understanding, we are developing an “On-Ramp” tutorial based
on physics education research which makes use of a computer simulation
of a lock-in amplifier. During the tutorial’s development we interviewed
several faculty members and graduate students. The tutorial is based on a
field-tested approach in which students realize their difficulties after pre-
dicting the outcome of experiments that use a lock-in amplifier; students
can check their predictions using simulations. The tutorial then guides
students towards a coherent understanding of the basics of a lock-in ampli-
fier. In this talk the development and assessment process will be discussed.
*Supported by the National Science Foundation.
**Sponsored by Chandralekha Singh
3:50-4 p.m. The Demographics and Experiences of
Graduate Students in PER
Contributed – Ramon Barthelemy, Western Michigan University, 1903 W.
Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49009;
Charles Henderson, Western Michigan University
Ben Van Dusen, University of Colorado Boulder
Statistical data on the numbers, demographics, and experiences of graduate
students in physics are well documented. However, in these assessments
one sub-field is often left out, physics education research (PER). Currently
no data exists on the composition of students in PER. This includes the
number of graduate students, the departments they are housed in, their
gender, their race, their experiences and more. This talk will present the
first empirical study focusing on the experiences and demographics of
students in PER.
Session GF: Lessons from Successful
Professional Development for
Successful Teacher Preparation
Location: Parlor A/B
Sponsor: Committee on Teacher Preparation
Date: Wednesday, July 17
Time: 2:40–4:10 p.m.
Presider: Karen Jo Matsler
2:40-3:10 p.m. AAPT/PTRA Professional Development
for 4th-8th Grade Teachers*
Invited – Steven L. Shropshire, Idaho State University, Department of Phys-
ics, Pocatello, ID 83209;
Jan Mader, Great Falls High School
Karen Jo Matsler, Educational Assessment and Training, Inc.
The Physics Teaching Resource Agents (PTRA) program developed by the
AAPT has served as a successful professional development (PD) model
for high school physics teachers since 1985. In Idaho, this model has been
applied to PD for middle school teachers in physical science from 2008 to
2011, and to PD for elementary teachers in physical science and mathemat-
ics since 2011. Support from both programs has been provided by the
Idaho Math Science Partnership. An overview of the AAPT/PTRA model
for PD and how it was adjusted in Idaho to serve the needs of 4th-8th
grade teachers will be presented. The impact of the program on teacher
content knowledge and confidence, and on the academic performance of
students of teachers who participated will be summarized.
*This program is supported by the Idaho State Board of Education Math and Science
Partnership program.
3:10-3:40 p.m. Lessons from GaDOE MSP and
Improving Teacher Quality Professional Development
Invited – Bob Powell, University of West Georgia, Department of Physics,
Carrollton, GA 30118;
Ann Robinson, David Todd, University of West Georgia
Sharon Kirby, Cherokee County Schools (retired)
The University of West Georgia has been successful during the last six
years in receiving grants to provide professional development for area
teachers from both improving teacher quality and the Georgia Department
of Education MSP programs. The key characteristics of the proposal prepa-
ration are strong partnerships, justification for the need of professional
development, letters of support, and meaningful content emphasizing
hands-on activities. The AAPT/PTRA units on Kinematics and Dynam-
ics, Energy and Momentum, Electricity and Magnetism, and Waves and
Geometric Optics have been used for the curriculum and have been well
received. Evaluations indicate improvement of both content knowledge
and pedagogy skills.
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