Latest Physics Dept. News

Rickey Summer Science Institute for High School Physics Teachers

The overall goal of the Rickey Summer Science Institute is to improve the quality of physics education in the United States. Through this effort, we hope to be able to improve the quality of physics education at the high school level and hopefully to extend this endeavor in the future to include middle school and possibly elementary school science teachers.

Each summer the Marietta College Physics Department hosts a group of science educators at a week-long, themed workshop. The activities are either directly applicable or adaptable to the participants' own classrooms. At the end of the institute, each participant takes a variety of software, hardware, and curriculum back to his or her classroom.

Due to generous endowment funding, there is no cost to the participants. (Optional graduate credit is available for the regular tuition rate.)

2010 Summer Institute

Topic and dates TBA.

Contact any of the department faculty for more information.

click to expandPast Institutes:

"Teaching Celestial Cycles in the International Year of Astronomy and Beyond"

July 2009

"Exploring Ways to Teach Electricity and Magnetism"

July 2008

"Using MBL to Teach Energy"

July 2007 brought fourteen educators to the 6th Annual Rickey Summer Science Institute. Participants explored education research-based approaches to using MBL to teach concepts related to energy transformations. Topics included mechanical energy, heat energy, sound, and light. Each participant received hardware, software, curriculum, and training directly applicable to his or her classroom.

"Using MBL to Teach Motion and Force"

In July 2006, eleven participants explored research-based approaches to overcoming common misconceptions about motion and force that involve guiding students through the development of the Newtonian way of thinking about mechanics. The primary approach once again involved Microcomputer-Based Laboratories (MBL), and participants were be given a variety of hardware, software, and curriculum tools to take back to their classrooms.

"Using Video Analysis in Physics Teaching"

At the 2005 institute, Eighteen high school physics and physical science teachers were given digital camcorders, software, and training to enhance their courses with innovative microcomputer-based video analysis. Most of the recent innovations in physics teaching deal with one dimensional motion – motion along a straight line. The focus of this institute was the study of two dimensional motion using video analysis, with a powerful the software package called VideoPoint.

"Using MBL to Teach Energy"

The 2004 institute was an intensive, five-day course providing twenty high school physics and physical science teachers the hardware, software, and instruction necessary to enhance their courses with innovative Microcomputer-Based Laboratories (MBL). Research in student learning has shown that microcomputer-based laboratories, coupled with guided-discovery curricula, can significantly improve the learning of physics concepts that are very difficult to learn through traditional instruction. Topics focused on energy transformations in mechanics, heat, sound, and light. A typical day involved review of a previous written assignment, instruction in the technology to be employed, hands-on laboratory activities, a written assignment, and discussion sessions.

"Using MBL to Teach Motion and Force"

The 2003 institute used the Tools for Scientific Thinking Motion and Force Curriculum and Logger Pro interface software, both developed at the Center for Science and Mathematics teaching at Tufts University. The emphasis was primarily on hands-on activities designed to teach motion and force concepts. When finished, the fourteen participants were given a variety of hardware and software to take back to their respective schools.

"Using Video Analysis in Physics Teaching"

The summer of 2002 marked the first Summer Institute for high-school teachers. Eleven educators from six counties attended the workshop. The participants used a software package known as VideoPoint to analyze two-dimensional motion frame-by-frame. When finished with the Institute, participants were given a video camera and all the necessary hardware and software so they could implement this technology at their schools.