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SEES Program

Students Exploring Engineering and Science


Program Overview

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Betty Preece, a long-time member of AAPT and Distinguished Service Award recipient, was an outstanding model of dedication and achievement within the science community. One of the many causes to which Betty gave her time and talents was the Students Exploring Engineering and Science (SEES) Program, which she founded. This program, sponsored by AAPT and the Society of Physics Students, provides 100 minority, low-socioeconomic students with the opportunity to engage in three hours of hands-on science activities during the AAPT Winter Meeting each year. AAPT provides lunch, transportation, career information, and science materials. The Society of Physics Students (SPS), an organization for undergraduate students interested in physics, organizes the program consisting of four different interactive stations. Students rotate through each station and have an opportunity to engage in a science activity. Several AAPT volunteers assist SPS volunteers with the activities. AAPT and SPS volunteers encourage students to stay in school and take science, math, and writing courses.

Program Description

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  • Science enrichment program for approximately 100 students in grades 5-8.
  • The program was introduced in 1992 at the AAPT Winter meeting in Orlando FL and has since been presented annually in conjunction with the AAPT Winter meeting at locations all around the U.S.
  • The hands-on science program is presented by education professionals (teachers and professors from high schools, colleges and universities) and undergraduate physics students from around the U.S.
  • The outreach event was started by Betty Preece, American Association of Physics Teachers volunteer, now carried out to honor her memory.
  • SEES provides an enriching hands-on science experience for student participants in local schools (close to the site of the AAPT national meeting venue)
  • Student participants will engage in physics topics and experiments that supplement curriculum and classroom activities.
  • Low-socio-economic schools with significant populations of underrepresented groups in physics are the target participants, providing opportunity to enhance learning and attitudes about science.
  • Student participants are provided with a variety of science resources that can be used to stimulate discussion and carry out follow-up activities in the classroom after the program.
  • Student participants spend three hours with undergraduate physics student who serve as role models.
Program Cost to Participating school: FREE
Note that there is some flexibility in start/end times to fit the needs of student participants and their teachers.

The specific labs and themes vary each year, and will be finalized approximately 6 weeks prior to the event. All physics or physical science topics are presented in the form of engaging, grade-level-appropriate activities designed to incite inquiry and discovery. Each lab station has several volunteers to provide adequate attention to each individual participant. Many of the lab stations are design so that the participant has some 'take away' that allows for further exploration of the topic. Purposeful time for questions is built into the schedule.




Target arrival time for student participants

Drop-off point pre-arranged with specific instructions for getting to event location, typically in a local conference hotel


Program opens with short introduction to full group


Lab Rotations begin - student participants divided into four equal groups


Rotation 1


Rotation 2


Rotation 3


Rotation 4


Program wrap up and short evaluation




Students depart from event – bus back to school

  • Arrange for proper permissions and logistics so that students can be transported to the event and arrive on time and participate fully in the science enrichment program
  • Arrange for the proper ratio of chaperones/student required by the school district for the field trip to the event
  • Work with AAPT staff to secure transportation from the school to the event and back

AAPT Programs and Conferences
Phone: 301-209-3340
Fax: 301-209-0845