Workshops and Tutorials


K1: Primer on Ionizing Radiation

Margaret E McCarthy, Ph.D.
Adjunct Environmental Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Department Chairman Physics, STCC

This workshop is designed for teachers K—12 who wish to incorporate some material on energy, specifically on ionizing radiation. The fundamentals of the EM spectrum & particulate radiation will be presented ending with nuclear power and fusion energy. The dose to humans from radiation will be covered. Comparison of background radiation, medical radiation, and environmental radiation will be presented. The attendee will design a questionnaire for his / her level of teaching with the intent of eliciting critical thinking on a very timely topic.

K2: Nanoscale Science and Engineering in High School Physics

Rob Snyder, University of Massachusetts; Brookline HS, retired
Morton M. Sternheim, University of Massachusetts

Integrating Nanoscale Science and Engineering into high school physics is often perceived as a daunting addition to the curriculum rather than as an opportunity for students to apply their understanding of fundamental physical principles and to further develop inquiry skills. Interestingly, there are numerous examples of classroom activities that can build an understanding of this rapidly expanding field while seamlessly being integrated into the STEM curriculum. One example appropriate for both introductory and advanced high school physics is the assembly and manipulation of a simple lever mechanism that requires the management of torques and the reflection of a laser beam by a series of mirrors. This mechanism simulates measurements made by an atomic force microscope (AFM), an instrument that maps materials at the nanoscale. An animation provides an opportunity for students to compare and contrast their simulation of an AFM that involves a rigid lever arm with an actual AFM that utilizes a flexing cantilever. The simulation can also serve as a springboard to an introduction to properties and applications that are unique to matter at the nanoscale.

K3: Introductory Level Experiments in Electricity: Ideas from Batteries and Bulb Circuits, and from Electric Fields

David E. G. Sturm
Physics & Astronomy Department, University of Maine, Instructional Labs
AAPT Apparatus Vice Chair – PIRA Representative

A workshop style survey of hands-on experiments presenting material adequate for the high school, or introductory college physics, classroom, laboratory, recitation, or studio setting. Inexpensive methods (and notes as to vendors) primarily for electric fields, electric circuits, along with compartmentalized pieces that you can choose to adapt to your needs. The workshop will include take-home items and an equipment raffle for participants. (If you have any broken Christmas tree light strands, bring them along for some extra ideas!)


Data Supporting Anthropogenic Global Warming: Balancing Ecology with Economics

Paul H. Carr, Ph. D.
AF Research Laboratory & UMass Lowell Emeritus

Data will be presented supporting the ecological APS National Policy Statement:
“Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate. The evidence is incontrovertible. Global warming is occurring.”
We must balance ecology with economics. Economically, the US is spending one billion dollars per day to import foreign oil. This money that is leaving our economy could be better spent creating jobs to develop energy from non-carbon-emitting nuclear, wind, and solar sources.  Innovative energy technology will be described.

Anthropogenic Global Warming: Illuminating some of its Scientific and Methodological Flaws

Laurence I. Gould, Professor of Physics
University of Hartford

There continues to be an increasing number of scientists and public figures around the world who are challenging the claims that dangerous “global warming/climate change” (AGW) is caused primarily by human-produced carbon dioxide. This Tutorial (followed by handouts) will explain what is meant by AGW and will show that the weight of scientific evidence strongly contradicts the alarmist claims (such as those found in some recent issues of The Physics Teacher and Scientific American).  It will also explain what are some of the methodological flaws, in the promotion of AGW, that continue to threaten the scientific method and, as a consequence, science education.