Spring 2013 Morning Invited Talks

Invited Talk: “Changes in the Teaching of Introductory Physics at Stanford” Chaya Nanavati or Stanford University

Chaya diChayascussed the existing structure that has an instructor that leads lectures and has Head TAs, Discussion TAs and Lab TAs that assist the smaller groups.  Often we encounter several barriers to change: Administration or Colleagues are often resistant to change and need convincing, materials and time are necessary for change. She suggests using the already developed resources from Maryland University, Harvard, CU Boulder, etc. on group work and student-centered learning. Eric Mazur has lots of resources and evidence that interactive engagement increases the post-test gain on the Force Concept Inventory test. Continue reading “Spring 2013 Morning Invited Talks”

Spring Section Conference at Foothill College: April 26-27, 2013

Join us at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA (just 16 miles NW of San Jose, 40 miles south of San Francisco) for the spring conference of the Northern California/Nevada Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers. Starting with a social and physics show, and observatory tour Friday evening, followed by a full day of physics education speakers and workshops on Saturday.

Foothill entrance

Continue reading “Spring Section Conference at Foothill College: April 26-27, 2013”

Story Telling in Physics

Bree Barnett Dreyfuss, Amador Valley High School

Bree shared examples of story telling in her class room including:

  • Using comics & pictures
  • Using video clips
  • Interpreting graphs & drawings
  • Anecdotes and stories of scientists and discoveries

Bree worked with a colleague to develop curriculum surrounding the book The Pluto Files by Neil deGrasse Tyson. She shared curriculum materials from her unit that are available on her website here.

Fall 2012 Conference Share ‘n Tell

Tom at Share n TellTom Woosnam, Crystal Springs

Tom showed us a conducting experiment (picture to come) with two cans and a two copper wires that do not touch and attach to a coup of water. After the cup of water is filled a small neon bulb that that is connected to one of the two copper wires can discharge repeatedly. Tom’s best guess as to why it flashes is that one of the metal cans becomes randomly charged, say negatively, and that negative charge travels up the conducting materials to the water and repels electrons through the other wire to the other side that builds up potential.


Dan Burns, Los Gatos High School

Continue reading “Fall 2012 Conference Share ‘n Tell”

Spring Section Conference at Sierra College: November 2-3, 2012

Join us at Sierra College in Rocklin, CA (just 20 miles NE of Sacramento) for the fall conference of the Northern California/Nevada Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers. Starting with a social and planetarium and museum tour, followed by a full day of physics education speakers and workshops on Saturday.

Sierra College, Department of Physics


Continue reading “Spring Section Conference at Sierra College: November 2-3, 2012”

Spring 2012 Share & Tell Notes

Lee Trampleasure, Carondelet High School  – deriving the kinematics equation experimentally

Handout available here.

Students use TI calculators to derive the kinematics equations. Students graph a linear position-time graph for different constant velocity cars. Student graph the data by hand and then uses linear regression to calculate the slope which will vary from student to student as their best fit lines differ. Students then plot a constant acceleration car and graph that data in their calculators. By taking various tangent lines students create a separate graph of the velocity-time for the car. Using the equation supplied by the calculator they begin to see the relationship between their y-intercept on the y=ax+b equation from the velocity-time graph matches the b in their equation for the position to time graph (x=at^2+bt+c).

David Talcott, Carlmont High School (c/o Bree) – Planck’s constant apparatus Continue reading “Spring 2012 Share & Tell Notes”

New physics job listings bulletin board on our website

Employmnet banner

For 2012 we’re introducing a new online bulletin board where you can post and search for job openings. The web address is http://ncnaapt.org/jobs.

  • To search, just click the links in the menu on the right side.
  • To post, click the “Register” link at the bottom of the right side menu, and follow the simple instructions to register. You can then post your job opening announcement.

We are limiting postings to positions at schools, colleges, and universities, so please don’t post jobs with tutoring agencies, etc. (if you’d like us to do this, please contact us with what you’d like to post and we’ll reconsider this policy). The NCN AAPT website gets about 500 hits per month, so we hope to be a resource for connecting job seekers with jobs.

Fall 2011 Conference at UC Berkeley

UCB Physics


Join us the first weekend in November at UC Berkeley for a day and a half of physics education.

Friday evening, November 4th

Social and Lecture Demo Show

Saturday, November 5


  • 8:00 Registration, coffee, donuts
  • 9:00 Welcome
  • 9:15 Show and Tell
  • 10:15 Break
  • 10:30 “Physics for Future Presidents — A new approach for the non-science student.” Invited speaker: Richard Muller, Professor of Physics, U.C. Berkeley, Faculty Senior Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • 11:30 Group photo
  • 11:45 Lunch
  • 12:45 Business meeting (in just 15 minutes!)
  • 1:00 Two options:
    • Tour of Physics Research Labs. Guided tours of physics faculty labs in Astrophysics, Condensed Matter & Materials Science, and Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, led by graduate students and researchers.
    • Roundtable Discussion for high school teachers to discuss common problems and solution.
  • 2:15 Break
  • 2:30 Two options:
    • Three concurrent workshops featuring labs and lecture demonstrations from Berkeley and other schools (contributions welcome). Spend the full period in one or circulate among the labs to see them all.
    • Modeling Instruction introduction workshop
  • 4:00 End 🙂


View NCN AAPT Conference at UCB November 2011 in a larger map and/or get directions

Complete program

Download our complete program in PDF format here.


$20 for NCN AAPT members (includes one lunch ticket). First timers are always free (lunch tickets for first timers are $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.)

[EVENT_REGIS_CATEGORY event_category_id=”section”]