AAPT_WM14program_final - page 61

January 4–7, 2014
Monday morning
Session CA: Physics and Society
Location: Salon 3
Sponsor: Committee on Science Education for the Public
Date: Monday, January 6
Time: 11–11:50 a.m.
Presider: Michael Orleski
11-11:10 a.m. WI Make Sustainability: Project-
oriented Physics Sustainability Education
Contributed – Duncan L. Carlsmith, University of Wisconsin-Madison,
Madison, WI 53706;
Creating solutions to the sustainability challenges of the future will
require integrated teams and a comprehensive approach that address
coupled sustainability problems such as water, finance, energy, health,
food and community. Addressing these challenges in practice will
require an educated workforce that has been trained to consider
sustainability broadly. The University of Wisconsin/Madison is
embarking on an ambitious plan to integrate and enhance research
and education thrusts in sustainability science and practice across all
parts of campus. WI Make Sustainability, an interdisciplinary project-
oriented class using an open lab Physics Garage (
edu/garage), will be described.
11:10-11:20 a.m. Teaching Physics Using a Public
Policy Framework
Contributed – Jennifer K. Perrella,* Cesar Chavez Public Charter
Schools for Public Policy, Washington, DC 20019; jennifer.perrella@
Incorporating topics of interest to the general public into a physics
course can be a daunting challenge. Yet doing so successfully can
not only increase understanding of physics concepts as they apply in
everyday life, but also can serve as a way to engage students who his-
torically struggle in STEM classes. With the nationwide shift to Com-
mon Core standards and a resulting emphasis on literacy and critical
thinking in all disciplines, public policy issues act as a structure upon
which to build a physics class that incorporates these changes. A
variety of performance tasks centered on policy issues such as helmet
laws, wind turbine designs, and radio frequency identification can be
used to assess student understanding of both the concepts and cal-
culations of a physics course. This approach also aligns with the Next
Generation Science Standards.
Sponsored by Kim Quire
11:20-11:30 a.m. Net-Zero Energy Houses Revisited
Contributed – Celia Chung Chow, (CSU) 9 Andrew Drive Weatogue, CT
Carefully considering all natural resources and elements, we can
build net-zero energy houses at any location. Canadians did build the
net-zero energy houses at their cold locations. We can learn and build
them too. Why should we, modern people, waste so much energy in
our life-time?
11:30-11:40 a.m. Physics of the Desert:
Evaporation Gone Wild
Contributed – Eric A. Hagedorn, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso,
TX 79968-0513;
Living in the Chihuahuan Desert (in El Paso, TX) includes daily
reminders of the effects of the enhanced evaporation rates of the
high desert. Getting out of the pool when it is over 100°F (38°C) and
shivering because the water is evaporating so quickly, using water
evaporative coolers to cool one’s home, plant leaves designed to
minimize evaporation; these are all daily experiences that one can use
to connect with the general public. Sharing these experiences can then
be a segue to the underlying physical principles and an opportunity to
discuss water conservation. A hands-on/minds-on activity with desert
canteens allows even children to measure the temperature difference
between a moistened cloth covered canteen and a dry one (at least
18°C difference). Activities such as these are an effective means of
connecting physics educators with local environmental and resource
conservation groups, expanding the breadth of our academic depart-
ment’s outreach efforts.
11:40-11:50 a.m. Solar Cookers, a Multiple-topic
Apparatus for Lifelong Learning
Contributed – Shawn Reeves, EnergyTeachers.org, Ithaca, NY 14850-
We will discuss building and using solar cookers during a physics
course to explore radiation, temperature, convection, energy, reflec-
tion, selective materials and other topics in physics and engineering.
Students from 10 up have shown special interest in the physical con-
cepts when couched in a discussion of cooking, something everyone
appreciates. Food- and cooking-proof probes help students analyze
processes, and misconceptions concerning sunlight and insulation
may be addressed.
Session CB: Low Enrollment
Teacher Preparation Programs
Location: Salon 6
Sponsor: Committee on Teacher Preparation
Date: Monday, January 6
Time: 11 a.m.–12 p.m.
Presider: Wendy Adams
11-11:30 a.m. Developing a Nurturing Environment
for Physics/Secondary Education Majors
Invited – Robert C. Bishop, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL 60187-5593;
Fostering a community that is supportive of secondary education
physics teaching as a valued vocation is essential for giving students
the vision and support they need to pursue a secondary education
degree path. I will share what our department has been doing to cre-
ate a welcoming and supportive atmosphere for students to consider
teaching high school physics as a first choice rather than as the last
choice for what they might do with their physics degree.
11:30-12 p.m. Sustaining a Physics Teacher
Preparation Program at a Major Research University
Invited – Laurie McNeil, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3255;
Most research-intensive universities do not regard teacher education
as being a strong part of their missions, and students who choose to
attend them rarely do so with the intention of becoming high school
teachers. Further, only a small fraction of students will choose to ma-
jor in physics. This means that a physics teacher preparation program
at a major research university might expect its output to constitute
less than a tenth of a percent of the students who receive undergradu-
ate degrees in a given year. For such a program to be sustained, it
needs (at least) two things: bigger partners and ancillary missions.
I will discuss how at UNC-CH we have formed strong partnerships
across the science departments and have embedded our program into
the educational life of the College of Arts & Sciences, allowing it to
thrive even though we graduate only a small number of (excellent!)
physics teachers.
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