Spring conference in South Lake Tahoe, April 21, 2012

Lake Tahoe CC LogoJoin us at Lake Tahoe Community College for a day of physics education.

Saturday, April 21st

All sessions are held in the Duke Theater, Room F111


  • 8:30 Registration, coffee, donuts
  • 9:30 Welcome
  • 9:45 Show and Tell
    • Share your favorite demonstration or teaching tip. Since new teachers and section members will be at this meeting, you are encouraged to dust off some of your oldies but goodies. If you have handouts, please bring 75 copies. Time limit is 5 minutes per person or you risk the dreaded GONG by referee David Kagan!
  • 10:45 Break
  • 10:00 Recruiting Majors from Grades 2-8, David Bennum, Professor of Physics, University of Nevada Reno
    • Budgetary issues around the country coupled with an apparent lack of interest from students in the sciences and engineering fields are causing many physics department closures or threats of closure. Departments at state supported schools in many states are being put on “probationary status” or phased out if their number of graduates is below a threshold set arbitrarily by politicians and political activists with no real understanding of either physics or education in general. I will talk about UNR’s physics department’s changes and K-12 outreach programs that are attempting to increase our number of majors.
  • 12:00 Group photo
  • 12:15 Lunch (provided with registration)
  • 1:15 Business meeting (in just 15 minutes!)
    • Election of officers, treasurer’s report, National AAPT report-back, approval of future site selections.
  • 1:30 Fathom in the Physics Lab; Mark Hurwitz, Lick-Wilmerding High School
    • Fathom software makes data analysis easy and intuitive for students. Mostly widely used in math and statistics classes, it also has the capability to capture data from most Vernier sensors through a standard LabPro interface. I will demonstrate a few labs that illustrate Fathom’s capabilities.
  • 2:00 Review Strategies; Bree Barnett-Dreyfuss, Amador Valley High School
    • There are many fun and interactive ways to review with your students. Review does not only have to be right before a test or exam. come learn how to review different levels of materials including group work, review games, student created review, etc. You will leave with ready to use strategies that you can apply to your classroom and access to several pre-made electronic files.
  • 2:30 The Beneficial Application of Stupidity in Inquiry; Evan White, CSU Chico
    • This discussion focuses on the benefit of the inquiry model where teachers facilitate a scholarly and scientific debate while struggling with stupidity. Stupidity, in this sense, is not ‘relative stupidity’ where their peers understand the material or when students who are bright and simply out of their talent area, but ‘absolute stupidity’ as students forge into the ‘new’ and unknown. The idea of stupidity leading to, and in some cases being necessary for, productivity will be presented through a curious case study where students left with a greater grasp on the material and a better understanding of what pure science is entirely due to the application of inquiry coupled with stupidity.
  • 2:45 NASA Research Opportunities for Community College Students; Cathy Cos, Lake Tahoe Community College
    • NASA currently has several opportunities for community college students. I will present information about ‘The Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program’ which four students and I participated in last year. The program included a trip to Johnson Space Center and an opportunity to conduct research aboard NASA’s zero gravity aircraft. I will focus on requirements of the program, how we made it through the process, our research project, and how amazing the experience was! I’ll also provide information about NASA’s Community College Scholars Program – a semester long on-line program that culminates in a trip to a NASA facility where students meet colleagues from around the country and compete in a robot building project.
  • 3:15 Remediation That Does Not STINK!; Leanna Ferlarda, Oroville High School
    • The word, “remediation” used to give me the shivers—but as a high school teacher, we all have had the experience of the kid who somehow gets to December and still can’t apply F=ma! There is a simple technique that motivates kids to keep up with the class, and to re-learn what they have missed. It also doesn’t require tons of TIME or grading hassle on the part of the teacher. I have implemented a ‘Mastery Method’in my classroom, and found it to be a great way to get those kids up to speed without making you, the teacher, insane. Free example materials and a peek at my grade book will be included.
  • 3:45 Forum: Solve a Mystery
    • Bring a piece of mystery demo/lab equipment and a veteran will explain it to you.
  • 4:00 End of program
  • 5:00 No-Host dinner at a local restaurant (location to be decided)


Parking is available in the two blue lots


We hope to have a Sunday morning cross-country ski outing for those who are interested. Watch here for more details (and there is no snow, we may just take a hike in beautiful South Lake Tahoe).


Check this post for information about local hotels.


View South Lake Tahoe lodging for NCN AAPT meeting in a larger map

Printable program

Complete program in PDF format (for our printing, but you may want to see it this way).


$20 for NCN AAPT members (includes one lunch ticket). First timers are always free (lunch tickets for first timers is $10). Lunch will be beef, turkey, or veggie sandwiches.

Pre-registration is not required, but will help us know how many people to expect:

(The registration below says it’s free, but that’s just because we’re not collecting payment online. The usual registration fees apply, including free admission for first time attendees.)

NCN AAPT Spring Conference, Lake Tahoe Community College


Join us at Lake Tahoe Community College for a day of physics education.

We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.

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