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Wednesday morning
homework, forum, at-home labs) and how such understanding of student
behaviors can be used to improve student learning. We will also compare
student learning in the flipped class to that in a traditional lecture class.
We will also present some difficulties in a flipped classroom that we have
encountered along the way.
Session FH: Mentoring in the Physics
Location: STSS 220
Sponsor: Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education
Date: Wednesday, July 30
Time: 8:30–9:40 a.m.
Presider: Renee Michelle Goertzen
8:30-9 a.m. Mentoring in the Ohio State University MS-
to-PhD Physics Bridge Program (OSU-PBP)*
Invited – Jonathan Pelz, The Ohio State University, Physics, Columbus, OH
Jay Gupta, Michelle McCombs, Chris Porter, Andrew Heckler, Ohio State
Effective and timely mentoring of Bridge students is extremely important
to their ultimate success in transitioning to PhD programs, since many
have substantial gaps in coursework, conceptual physics understanding,
study and research skills, and/or “life skills” such as effective budgeting
of time and personal finances. I will discuss the still-evolving mentor-
ing efforts within the OSU-PBP, with particular emphasis on mentoring
activities found to be effective, those that are not, and those that should
have been implemented during our inaugural year. In addition to activi-
ties adapted from the Fisk-Vanderbilt and Michigan bridge programs, we
are developing new academic mentoring activities in the form of physics
tutorials and other materials for “Guided Group Work” sessions provided
in conjunction with advanced undergraduate physics courses that OSU-BP
students are taking. These sessions are greatly valued by the students, and
have proven to be effective in improving conceptual understanding, critical
thinking, and problem solving skills.
*The OSU-PBP was formed with substantial financial and other support from the
American Physical Society and from Ohio State University.
9-9:30 a.m. Learning to be a More Effective Research/
Project Mentor
Invited – Eric J. Hooper,* University of Wisconsin-Madison, 5507B Sterling
Hall, Madison, WI 53706-1582;
Christine Pfund, Janet Branchaw, Robert Mathieu, University of Wisconsin-
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has developed, field tested, and pub-
licly released research mentor training materials for several STEM (science,
technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines, including physics
and astronomy, to help improve the educational experience and ultimate
success of research trainees at several career stages, from high school
students to post-doctoral scholars. While initially aimed at the mentoring
of undergraduate researchers at research extensive institutions, the topics
are broad enough (e.g., expectations, communication, understanding, di-
versity, ethics, independence) to be applicable to mentoring in a wide range
of project-based educational activities. Indeed, these materials have been
modified, only modestly, to prepare graduate students and undergraduates
to mentor high school students. This talk will describe the research men-
tor training seminar and illustrate how the training can be adapted and
*Sponsored by: Renee Michelle Goertzen
9:30-9:40 a.m. Developing Resilient Physics Students
Through Regular Reflection and Empathetic Feedback
Contributed – Dimitri R. Dounas-Frazer, California Polytechnic State Univer-
sity, San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407;
Low retention in the sciences is due in part to students’ rejection of faculty
and graduate students as role models and their perception of faculty as
unapproachable. Improving retention of science students therefore requires
the creation of educational spaces where students feel better connected
to instructors. To this end, we are piloting a system that facilitates regular
student reflection and personalized instructor feedback to foster supportive
relationships between students and instructors. Students choose one of
four topics to guide their reflections. Instructor responses acknowledge
and empathize with students’ difficulties, recognize their efforts to improve,
and provide them with additional resources whenever appropriate. Thus,
instructors and students engage in a mentoring-style relationship to sup-
port students in overcoming challenges to their development as learners.
In this talk, we report preliminary results on how regular reflection and
feedback shape students’ experiences in a physics course and how students’
reflections evolve over time.
Session FI: Teacher Communities:
Supporting Beginning Teachers of
Location: STSS 220
Sponsor: Committee on Teacher Preparation
Date: Wednesday, July 30
Time: 9:50–10:30 a.m.
Presider: Colleen Megowan-Romanowicz
9:50-10:20 a.m. STEMteachersNYC – Starting an
Effective Physics Teacher Support Organization
Invited – Fernand Brunschwig, Columbia University, Teachers College, New
York, New York 10027;
STEMteachersNYC, affiliated with the American Modeling Teachers
Association, has achieved strong growth since its founding by a group of
physics teachers in May 2011, with a membership of 240 in February 2014.
The group has organized a total of 32 highly workshops between founding
and February, 2014, including four 3-week Summer Modeling Instruction
Workshops and 28 three-hour weekend workshops. See STEMteacher- for details. I will describe the explicit organizing strategies and
the process we used to generate this dynamic growth. STEMteachersNYC
has successfully leveraged experienced teachers’ expertise as workshop
leaders and has been supported financially almost entirely through fees
paid by the teachers attending the workshops. I will explore in detail the
scalability of what we have done, as well as the potential for widespread
implementation to support teachers, especially beginners, by enhancing
their pedagogic content knowledge and teaching skills.
10:20-10:30 a.m. Making Collaboration Worth Your Time
Contributed – Kate E. Miller, Washington-Lee High School, Arlington Public
Schools, VA, 119 5th St. SE, Washington, DC 20003; katemiller1027@gmail.
“Collaboration”: a buzzword frequently used but infrequently made
meaningful. I am a first-year teacher and member of a team of four teach-
ers in three districts (two states) that has successfully collaborated for
three years. This group has been invaluable in improving my instructional
design and implementation throughout my critical first year. Together, we
align content on a near daily basis, use backwards planning, and create
common formative/summative assessments. Our success stems from our
group norms—(1) a commitment to instructional alignment, (2) decisions
made through consensus rather than majority, (3) a critical but respect-
ful approach towards new ideas and (4) a reflective stance of our group
processes. I will share tools, protocols, and technology that have allowed
us to be effective and efficient in our collaboration. This team is supported
by the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation which strives to support new
science teachers in becoming expert teachers.
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