APS News

Education Corner

Save the date: 2014 PhysTEC Conference
The 2014 PhysTEC Conference will be held in Austin, Texas on May 19-20 in conjunction with the UTeach Conference. The PhysTEC Conference is the nation’s largest meeting dedicated to physics teacher education.

This year’s conference theme is “Building Leadership” and the conference features workshops, panel discussions, presentations by national leaders, and a contributed poster session. There will be a PhysTEC-UTeach joint plenary session by Arthur Levine, Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Other plenary speakers include Nicole Gillespie, Knowles Science Teaching Foundation; David E. Meltzer, Arizona State University; Susan Singer, National Science Foundation.

Registration opened in mid-February; the registration rate for PhysTEC member institutions is $150 and the non-member rate is $295. Faculty from minority-serving institutions are eligible to apply for travel grants. Additional conference information can be found at the PhysTEC 2014 Conference page.

New APS K-12 Statement Passed
The New APS statement reads as follows:

The American Physical Society calls upon local, state and federal policy makers, educators and schools to:
  • Provide every student access to high-quality science instruction including physics and physical science concepts at all grade levels; and
  • Provide the opportunity for all students to take at least one year of high-quality high school physics.

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ALPhA’s 2014 Laboratory Immersions Program
During the summer of 2014, the Advanced Laboratory Physics Association (ALPhA) will be offering a record number of sites for its popular “Laboratory Immersions.” The Immersions offer an opportunity for faculty and teaching staff to spend two to three full days, with expert colleagues on hand, learning the details of a single experiment well enough to teach it with confidence. This year there are 14 sites offering a total of 28 different experiments, including new sites at Vanderbilt, Harvard, Sewanee, and the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab.

For details, including topics and registration, please visit the ALPhA website.

College Board Replaces AP Physics B
The College Board is replacing AP Physics B with a pair of two-semester courses. The text below is excerpted from the Board’s “Big Changes on the Way for AP Physics” (available online).

As part of the Advanced Placement course and exam redesign, AP will offer two new physics courses beginning in fall 2014. These courses, AP Physics 1 and Physics 2, will replace the current AP Physics B course; as a result, AP Physics B will retire in fall 2014. This two-course physics model better reflects the introductory algebra-based college course sequence at most colleges.

As with all AP courses, the AP Physics 1 and 2 curriculum and exam development was overseen by a committee of college faculty members and AP teachers from across the country. The committee reviewed introductory-level AP Physics syllabi from colleges and universities across the country. This curriculum review helped the committee define which elements of introductory algebra-physics Physics were elemental and important to keep in the design of the revised curriculum. The final curriculum was also reviewed and validated by a separate panel of more than 50 physics faculty from a variety of institutions.

The first score reports for Physics 1 and 2 will be available in July 2015.

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