Science Teachers Day – Tuesday,
November 12, 2013
*Note: Below descriptions from 2012
All teachers will attend one of several grade-based offerings of Plasma 101: Introduction to Fusion Energy and Plasma Sciences. Teachers will be directed to attend the workshop suitable for their general teaching level (middle school or high school). Although the fundamental information in every P101 workshop is the same, different grade-relevant activities are emphasized.
to Fusion Energy and Plasma Sciences
Fusion energy is as old as the universe, yet scientists and engineers have been working to achieve fusion on earth during just the past 65 years. Small-scale fusion on earth has been achieved and is routine in many of today's experimental devices in the US, Europe and Japan. However, there is still a long way to go to develop fusion energy as a commercially available source of energy. This workshop will introduce you to plasma science as a stepping stone to understanding fusion energy research. You will use standard science concepts culled from atomic structure, gas laws, electricity, and Einstein's famous equation, E=mc2, to explore this rich and fascinating world of fusion science. Demonstrations and giveaways will enable you to bring the excitement of plasma and fusion science into your classroom!
SESSIONS TWO AND THREE
Cosmology: History and Fate of the Universe: Bob Reiland, Shady Side Academy-Pittsburgh; Todd Brown, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg:
Recommended for High School Teachers
This workshop will introduce materials and activities for teaching cosmology topics in your high school classroom. Examples of questions that may be considered are: How are the Doppler effect and cosmological redshift related to each other and to the Hubble expansion of the universe? What are the characteristics of the Big Bang and the evidence for it? How are various types of electromagnetic radiation used to help understand the evolution of the universe? How can cosmic distances be measured? What are "dark matter" and "dark energy"? Successful teaching strategies, including Internet options and "easy to do" student hands-on activities, will be investigated. Presented by the Contemporary Physics Education Project (CPEP).
Fusion Demonstration Activities for the Classroom: Cheryl Harper, Greensburg-Salem High School; G. Samuel Lightner, Emeritus, Westminster College
for High School Teachers
This workshop will introduce you to techniques to stimulate your students to learn more about plasma and fusion sciences. Participants will explore tabletop "fusion," emission spectra from a fluorescent light, and the meaning of voltage and current in plasma. Participants should have a basic understanding of nuclear science, electricity, and the origin of electromagnetic radiation. Presented by the Contemporary Physics Education Project (CPEP).
The Electromagnetic Spectrum: How we know what we know about 100,000,000K plasmas. Rick Lee, General Atomics
Recommended for Middle School and High
The electromagnetic (EM) spectrum is a catch-all phrase that lumps together a particular kind of energy that can travel as waves (or so the model goes…) or can be thought of as particle-like photons. People rely on the information they receive via these traveling waves, yet many misconceptions are present in students’ and teachers’ mental constructs describing such ‘waves’. This workshop will answer the question of what is “waving” in an EM wave, how Polaroid glasses work, why there are holes in the door of your microwave oven, what we can tell about a high-temperature plasma (in the lab or in space) based on the characteristics of EM radiation, and more. An infrared camera will be also be used to illustrate sophisticated detection systems and how EM energy interacts with different material substrates.
Light and the Nature of Matter: Dan Burns, Los Gatos High School;
Don Correll, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Recommended for Middle and High School Teachers
This workshop will present demonstrations and activities that reveal the fundamental nature of light and how light spectroscopy is used to understand astrophysical and fusion plasmas. Applications will be presented, including the use of light as a way to probe matter on an atomic scale. Participants will have ample opportunity to work with equipment including spectrometers. Vendor information about ‘light and spectrometry’ equipment designed for the high school and middle school science classroom will be provided. Discussions will also include opportunities for science teachers to participate in science education and outreach activities, especially those sponsored by the Department of Energy Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (http://science.energy.gov/fes/research/fusion-institutions).
Understanding Newton's Laws: Achieving a balance of forces - Edward Thomas, Physics Department, Auburn University and Jeremiah Williams, Physics Department, Wittenberg University
Recommended for Middle School
Teachers and High School Teachers
Newton's three laws of motion serve as the foundation for the development of physics. Even with the great advances in modern physics, such as quantum mechanics or relativity, the vast majority of our interactions with the physical world are well described using Newton's laws. One aspect of Newton's laws that is particularly important to both science and engineering is the ability to achieve an equilibrium — a state where the forces acting on the system are balanced. Concepts that will be examined include gravitational forces, electric forces, and drag forces.
Stars: Plasma Physics in the Sky, Mike Randall, Wonders of Physics, Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Recommended for Middle School
Teachers and High School Teachers
A star is the source of the majority of energy on earth, yet it is very difficult to bring stars down to earth in the classroom. This workshop will provide activities for teachers and the background knowledge necessary for teaching the basics about stars in the middle school or high school classroom. Questions addressed in the workshop include: How do stars work? Why are stars different colors? How do stars evolve? We will explore the origin of the elements and learn how astronomers (and your students!) decode the periodic table in the stars. Learn about the different instruments and methods astronomers use to study stars (so you can respond accurately to the pesky "how do we know that?" question), and learn how you can provide your students with hands-on, engaging astronomy activities in the classroom.