Physics & Physical Science Demos, Labs, & Projects for High School Teachers

Archive for March 21st, 2010

It was in fact my first science teacher conference.  NSTA was overwhelming (1600 sessions to chose from) and outstanding all at the same time.  I met great people, learned so much from them, and came away with tons of ideas and demonstrations.  It was like visiting my home planet.

I was there for a lot of reasons; I need a senior level astronomy textbook, an advanced physics textbook, lab equipment to move into the AP world, a planetarium maybe (how awesome is that?), robotics course ideas, teaching demonstrations, and of course, a mental recharge. I got all of that and more.

Deb Carder was terrific, although she has way too much energy (her web site is on my Blogroll).  She did a wonderful session on demonstrations and activities.  I saw a similar talk by a NASA engineer, and PASCO’s outstanding Friday night demonstration spectacular.  So many teachers assume that if you are older and losing (or lost) most of your hair, you’ve been teaching forever.  I’ve only been teaching for 7 years, and I heard “you all know this one” about 8 times, only to be followed by something I’ve never seen before.

I’m going to be posting some gems, the best of which is how students can use robotic telescopes for free.  You’re just going to have to wait for me to write it up, that one alone was worth the price of admission.

The GM people had the Volt chassis there and an engineer that was just fascinating to talk to.  I’m going to be posting a GM entry along with some links, again, you’ll have to wait a couple of days.  I have some picture of that one.

Robotics is a large part of STEM, I had very useful conversation with the Office of Naval Research and LEGO.  There is so much going on that I didn’t know about.

From the show floor, all the government outreach means lots of free posters.  You can never have enough posters.  I just love NASA, they are the best, but a close second is USGS with their earthquake map.

And sadly, no takers on a reader meet up.  Did anyone else attend?


What’s New in 2013/2014?

Every year brings a change, this one is no exception.

I will be picking up the sophomore honors Algebra II class to keep them separate from the juniors. This should help accelerate them and put them on a stronger track towards Calculus. Looks like there will be only one section each of Physics and Calculus, but still two of Robotics & Engineering.

Hot topics this year are going to be the Common-Core Standards, Standards-Based Grading (SBG), improving AP Calculus scores, and somehow adding Python, maybe as a club.

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March 2010
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