Category: Teacher Support

Fall 2014 conference at City College of San Francisco

ISEE-3 Reboot Project logoOur fall 2014 meeting will be at the City College of San Francisco this November. There will be a social event on the night of the 14th followed by a full day on Saturday the 15th. Our keynote speaker will be Dennis Wingo of the ISEE-3 Reboot Team, a group of space enthusiasts who are attempting (with good progress) to revive a NASA space probe launched in 1978.

Registration is now open here.

Call for Posters is here

Our draft schedule is below the page-jump

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Registration for August PTSOS Now Open!

The next PTSOS meeting will be on August 23 at Los Gatos High School from 9 to 4.

Our format is informal, flexible, and friendly. We like to think that everyone leaves the workshop with something they can use right away in their classrooms. Most of the teachers who attend teach regular high-school physics, but we also see many AP Physics teachers, college physics teachers, junior-high physical-science teachers, and even math, chemistry, and biology teachers.

Thanks to our generous benefactors (especially the Karl Brown family), the workshop is free, including a free, onsite lunch and coffee and doughnuts. Read more »

Forces and Interactions: NGSS for Physics and Physical Science Teachers

This is not exactly in our backyard, but worth two weeks if  you can make it.

June 16-27, 2014        M-F         9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

The Physics department at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls and the American Association of Physics Teachers’ PTRA program have provided in service teachers with high quality, in depth, and useful educational experiences for nearly 30 years.  Read more »

EinsteinPLUS Teacher Workshop

EINSTEINPLUS is a one-week intensive workshop for Canadian and international high school teachers that focuses on modern physics including quantum physics, special relativity, and cosmology. EINSTEINPLUS also provides unique opportunities to learn some of the latest developments in physics from expert researchers at the forefront of human knowledge, enjoy lab tours and take part in social events with like-minded teachers from around the globe.


July 6-12th 2014 at Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario Canada.

Complete information here (PDF)

Program for November 15-16 2013 conference at Carondelet HS

The program for our Fall 2013 section conference is now available in PDF format. We should have a web page version up shortly, but here’s the PDF  in the mean-time.

Map of locations:

View NCN AAPT at Carondelet High School in a larger map with key to locations.

Don’t forget, registration is encouraged (helps us plan for how many will attend), but not mandatory. Register here.

Accelerometers and Great America: Here’s your ‘permission slip’

Last year, after more than a decade of bringing students (and their accelerometers) to Great America, Phillip Becker of Saint Helena High School was shocked to be informed by park staff that students would not be allowed to bring their accelerometers on the rides. Disappointment ruled the day, but his students made the best of it. Upon returning to school, Mr. Becker typed out a to-the-point letter to Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (the parent company for Great America), expressing his outrage at this change in policy. Shortly thereafter, Cedar Fair Entertainment replied, with a letter notifying him that there had been no change in policy, and apologizing for the mistake by the local park staff/management.

If you are planning on attending a Physics/Math day at Great America, you may want to print out a copy of the letter from Cedar Fair and carry it with you to the park, just in case this year’s staff/management makes a similar mistake.

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. Read more »

Spring 2013 Share n’ Tell

Further updates and links to come… If you have any corrections please let the secretary know.

Tom Woosnam , Crystal Springs Uplands School

Tom discussed the Perimeter Institute; more information is available here: Perimeter Institute Catalogue (1)

Don Rathjen, Exploratorium Read more »

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

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Physics of Baseball

David KaganDavid Kagan, CSU Chico

All of David’s material related to the Physics of Baseball are available on his website:

David demonstrated the Physics of the Baseball bat including the progression of the baseball bat. He explained how to find the center of percussion of the baseball bat as well as the center of vibration.  The “sweet spot” of a bat is where the center of percussion and the center of vibration meet which means that the player will minimize the jarring force of the bat. David showed us many high speed videos from the playoffs that show the compression of a baseball bat being hit and the reaction of the bat after the impact. David demonstrated his rubber bat that has no internal support so that it can create a standing wave. By putting together that information, your students can choose the correction direction that the bat will swing and even guess where the baseball will break if it is outside or inside of the sweet spot.

Pablo showing off his collector baseballsPaul (Pablo) Robinson, San Mateo High School, retired

Pablo shared the physics of the splash hits in the San Francisco Giants Stadium. The ballpark has been designed for maximum home runs and the majority are hit to right field, where the ballpark meets the bay. He discussed the geometry of the park and where a home run is most likely hit.

He has more materials on the change in velocity of a ball hit on different planets, the Physics of a home run, etc. Visit his website for additional materials and videos.

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