2009-2014: A TIME for Physics First
My current efforts in K-12 education center around professional development and leadership training for 9th grade science teachers. This project, entitled A TIME for Physics First is a partnership among the University of Missouri and 36 Missouri school districts. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation Math-Science Partnership Institute grant, funded September 2009-Aug 2014.
Through this project, participants and university faculty will gain an expanded range of leadership expertise, content knowledge and pedagogical proficiency to share with others, as they become resources and catalysts for reform in science education at the secondary and post-secondary institutional levels. Ultimately, the overall goal is a significant increase in student achievement in science and science coursework. The vision of the project is to prepare Missouri's 9th grade science teachers to become intellectual leaders as they learn to teach a yearlong freshman physics course. Leadership skills will be built through research-based professional development (PD) that includes comprehensive physics content, pedagogy, research and evaluation.
2005-2009: The first iteration of a teacher professional development program targeted to 9th grade teachers was funded by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. In this program a professional development curriculum for a yearlong course in physics for 9th grade teachers was developed, and PD was provided to 72 Missouri teachers from 25 school districts. The project was funded by federal flow-through dollars from the Department of Education's Math-Science Partnership program. This project formed the basis for the current A TIME for PhysicsFirst program.
1993- 2005: Exploring Physics in Cyberspace
Outreach activities for K-12 students are described in the website Exploring Physics in Cyberspace. The programs include extracurricular programs at four levels:
• Exploring Physics for 5-7 grade girls;
• Family Evenings with Science and Technology (FEST), a middle school parent / student program;
• Saturday Scientist, in collaboration with local industries for 8-9 grade students
• Newton Summer Science Academy for 9-11 grade girls, which integrates Science, engineering and mathematics through a toy factory building project
• Physics summer institutes for middle level teachers and
• A gender equity course for science teachers.
2000-2002: Exploring Physics, the CD
During the Exploring Physics in Cyberspace project we developed a CD of hands-on activities in Electricity and Magnetism. Sample activities are posted on our Exploring Physics site. The CD targets teachers and students at the middle level (5-9). This CD allows teachers to learn electricity and magnetism concepts in a concept-oriented framework. The same activities can be used in the K-12 classroom. A vast repertoire of links provides easily accessible background information -- with attractive pictures, animations, and examples.
These materials have been modified to teach a preservice elementary education course in physics, Physics 2330, Exploring the Principles of Physics.
1992-2009: Polarization and Geometric Optics
A display of polarization phenomena was installed in a large cabinet in the hallway of the Physics Building in 1992. Over the years it was upgraded, and a floor-to-ceiling size cabinet was constructed in in 2007-08. Geometric optic phenomena are displayed on the lower level, and polarization in the upper level. The slide show below describes the phenomena included in the display.