Category: University 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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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.

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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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

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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


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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 Read more »

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

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