2018-present: Exploring Physics, the Curriculum App

The Exploring Physics Curriculum App is an interactive app for teaching high school physics (Physics First), physical science or conceptual physics classes.

The app is based on an inquiry and modeling pedagogy. Students learn physics concept through hands-on labs, followed by practices and reading pages. The app uses hybrid online-offline access. Extensive teacher resources are included in the teacher version of the app, which also controls the web-based portal for grading and record keeping. Eight units on Electricity, Kinematics and Mechanics are currently available.

The app works as a workbook, lab book and textbook all in one! Students can use text, drawings, graphs, tables to record their work. The curriculum combines hands-on activities with a discussion-based pedagogy (modeling) and can be used for 8th grade through early college. The app works on iPads, Macs and PCs.

A TIME for Physics First

2009-2014: A TIME for Physics First is a professional development and teacher leadership project was funded by a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation. Eighty ninth grade science teachers from thirty seven Missouri district participated in the project. A short description is provided ion the Physics First page, while further details of the project are on the project website.

2005-2009: The first iteration of the 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 NSF-funded A TIME for Physics First program.

1993 – 2005: Physics for K-12 students

Outreach activities for K-12 students, with a focus on female students, were funded by four NSF grants. Extracurricular activities were conducted at four levels:

  • Physics Explorations 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.