Fall Meeting is at Cal – October 21/22

We are returning to Berkeley for our Fall meeting!

Friday October 21

For those that are driving in the night before, or folks who just like to hang out with other physics teachers, we’ve got some Friday night events.  We’ll meet at 6 at Pyramids Restaurant: http://www.pyramidsrestaurantandgrill.com/.  They feature Egyptian fare, but of course you can always get a burger.  At 8 we’ll be at the telescopes at the Chabot Science Center:  http://www.chabotspace.org/observatories.htm

Saturday October 22

Our keynote speaker is Bob Jacobsen, Berkeley physics faculty member and the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.  If you paid dues last Spring, registration is free (we’ll send you an email with a discount code), otherwise it is $25 at the door.

And while you are at it, get our shirt.  They are $7, pick up at the meeting.

shirtfront shirtback
Here’s our preliminary schedule for the day (subject to change):

8AM – Open for registration – LeConte Hall


9 –  Share & Tell – LeConte 1
Bring your favorite demo to share with us.  If you are making photocopies for distribution, 75 is a good number.


10-11:15 Keynote Speaker – Bob Jacobsen – LeConte 1

 “Dark Matter and Improved Pedagogy – Searching for Elusive Evidence”

A look at the similarities behind doing a search for a new phenomenon, and trying to find better  pedagogies.


11:15 Group Photo
Yes, you will get to take home a photo of you and scores of other physics teachers.  This is good evidence for administrators checking up on professional development activities.


11:30-1 Lunch w/Topic Tables
Once again we’ll have tacos.   We’ll embark by table, with tables for things like NGSS, AP, TYCs, Newbies & Old Farts, PER and whatever else people are interested in.


1-2:30 Lab tours, advanced lab, workshops.
  • There will be a 45-minute workshop by Berkeley’s DoseNet that will repeat.

DoseNet is a radiation and environmental sensor network including schools throughout the Bay Area and internationally that serves to establish a relationship between UC Berkeley and member high schools, with long-term goals of building students’ understanding of scientific and technologic thinking while engaging and informing the community about radiation in their environment. We see interacting with young students as vital to improving community understanding of radiation and radiation risks as well as providing valuable hands-on experimentation in a relevant and cutting-edge scientific endeavor.

  • We’ll have a 45-minute NGSS workshop that will repeat
  • We’ll have tours of various Cal research labs and teaching labs
2:30-3:30 Panel on Gender Issues in Physics/Physics Ed – LeConte 1
Moderated by Jennie Guzman with  Mary Gaillard, Sylvia Lewin and Valerie Risk.   Jennie Guzman is faculty at CSU East Bay, and was our keynote speaker at our meeting at Sacramento St.  Mary Gaillard is a long-time faculty member in the Cal Physics Department and LBNL, and is the author of “A Singularly Unfeminine Profession: One Woman’s Journey in Physics.” Sylvia Lewin is a Cal grad student and one of the head coordinators of SWPS.  Valerie Risk is a long-time member of our local chapter and teaches at Albany High School.
3:30-4:30 Berkeley Physics Demo Show – LeConte 4
We’ll close with a bang as department shows off its stockroom.


We strongly suggest using public transportation and carpooling.   The link for carpooling is https://www.groupcarpool.com/t/4muhxw


Call for Presentations



Are you doing something that should be shared with other physics teachers?  Will it take more time than the five-minute limit in Share-and-Tell?  In that case, please sign up to present a presentation or workshop.

What topics can be covered?  Anything that tickles your fancy as a physics teacher that you think will help our community.  This could be a neat experiment, original research, cool projects for your students, a report-back from a field trip that worked, an innovative way to approach grading, or anything else that you would like to share with fellow teachers.

Astronomy Teaching Summit at SF City College


August 1-3, 2016 – City College of San Francisco-North Beach ChinaTown Campus

The Astronomy Teaching Summit (ATS) brings together dedicated astronomy and planetary sciences educators to share innovative teaching techniques and successful instructional strategies that increase students’ engagement, achievement, and motivation.  Although the ATS is designed primarily for college professors teaching the introductory astronomy survey course (ASTRO 101), science teacher educators and high school teachers that touch on earth & space concepts, and outreach enthusiasts will find the talks and workshops valuable. The summit includes formal presentations, interactive workshops, and roundtable discussions all designed around astronomy teaching innovations. This is a great opportunity to upgrade your innovative teaching toolkit! Astronomy educators and outreach enthusiasts from all levels are invited to participate and submit proposals for presentations. Continue reading Astronomy Teaching Summit at SF City College

AAPT High School Physics Teacher Camp near Sacramento this summer

Our local high school teachers are encouraged to attend the 2nd annual AAPT High School Physics Teacher Camp. The camp will be held on Sunday, July 17, 2016, just prior to the AAPT Summer Meeting at the Rio Americano High School in Sacramento, California.
AAPT High School Physics Teacher Camp logo
What:  The camp is a self-organizing opportunity for teachers of high school physics classes to discuss topics such as inquiry labs, standards-based grading, video analysis, and computer–based labs. The registrants will determine the topics. There will also be an expectation to share something about your teaching with the group.

When: July 17, 2016 Continue reading AAPT High School Physics Teacher Camp near Sacramento this summer

Momentum and Impulse: Workshop by AAPT PTRA at PASCO, July 16th, 2016

I want to be sure your teachers are aware of a very unique opportunity to increase their understanding of content in physical science and physics.  Professional development master teachers with the American Association of Physics Teachers will be in your area July 15-16, 2016 and would like to invite your teachers to join them in a stimulating, fun, and content focused professional development at the PASCO facility. Each day will focus on specific topics aligned with the California standards and we promise your teachers will be engaged and learn something new.  One day will focus on elementary physical science and the second day will focus on higher-level physics and physical science.PTRA banner

Continue reading Momentum and Impulse: Workshop by AAPT PTRA at PASCO, July 16th, 2016

Spring Conference – April 22/23 at Foothill College

We’ll be back at Foothill in April!

We are very pleased to have Carl Wieman, 2001 Nobel Prize winner, and the driving force behind the PhET simulations, as our keynote speaker.  The title of his talk is “Taking a scientific approach to teaching physics.”

Continue reading Spring Conference – April 22/23 at Foothill College

January Member Spotlight: Valerie Risk

Each month we will spotlight a NCNAAPT member. Each member will be asked a few questions about their involvement in the section to showcase the many benefits of their membership.

Our inaugural Member Spotlight educator is Valerie Risk, who has been teaching for 5 years.  She currently teaches Physics and AP Physics at Albany High School in Albany, CA.

– How long have you been a member of NCNAAPT?

I’ve been a member of NCAAPT since 2011.  That was the year Richard Muller gave the keynote address for the NCAAPT meeting at UC Berkeley. Continue reading January Member Spotlight: Valerie Risk

The American Association of Physics Teachers, Northern California/Nevada Section