3429 Views
  1. Meera Chandrasekhar
  2. https://faculty.missouri.edu/~chandrasekharm/
  3. Curators' Teaching Professor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Missouri, Exploring Physics
  1. Dorina Kosztin
  2. https://faculty.missouri.edu/~kosztind/
  3. Teaching Professor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Missouri
  1. Douglas Steinhoff
  2. Teacher-in-Residence
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University of Missouri, Exploring Physics

A TIME for Freshman Physics in Missouri

NSF Awards: 0928924

2017 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12

Only 40% of graduating US high school seniors take physics. Yet physics, as a fundamental science, is required for all college science and engineering majors. In parallel, there is a shortage of trained high school physics teachers. While the ideal solution is for every student to have access to a trained physics teacher, a more reachable solution is to train 9th grade science teachers to teach a conceptual physics course, and to have all students take that course.

The goal of A TIME for Physics First in Missouri (NSF DUE 0928924) is to train science teachers to teach a yearlong physics course in 9th grade. Sixtyfive teachers from 36 Missouri districts (urban, suburban and rural) attended professional development in physics content and pedagogy over three years, along with leadership training, mentoring, and learning communities. The curriculum developed by the project is currently available in digital format (Exploring Physics Curriculum App).

The App combines hands-on learning with the essential features of inquiry and modeling pedagogies. The digital format includes animations, simulations, and videos. Teacher support is integrated into the App. Students can use the App as a workbook, textbook and lab book. They can enter data as text, drawings, graphs or equations, and submit work electronically to the teacher.

As a result, student enrollment in physics has increased dramatically in Missouri. Between 2006 and 2014 the number of 9th grade students taking physics has increased from ~300 to 17,000, of whom 13,000 are in schools that participated in the project.

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Original Discussion from the 2017 STEM for All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Meera Chandrasekhar

    Meera Chandrasekhar

    Lead Presenter
    Curators' Teaching Professor
    May 14, 2017 | 09:40 p.m.

    Welcome to A TIME for Physics First. The vision of the project is to prepare Missouri's 9th grade science teachers to become intellectual leaders as they learn to teach a yearlong freshman physics course. Two major impacts of the project are (1) widespread adoption of Physics First, with about 25% of Missouri high schoolers now taking 9th grade physics, and (2) the development of an interactive curriculum that we are currently publishing as a digital app, Exploring Physics. 

    Implementing Physics First meant that many districts took on new and unexpected challenges. We estimate that about 90% of the districts that started PD with our program are still teaching physics first. If your district is considering Physics First, we'll be glad to talk to you, and find you answers if we do not know them!

    PS: Added on 5/16: Eight content units of the app will released for the 2017-18 school year.

  • Icon for: Sarah Haavind

    Sarah Haavind

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 12:18 p.m.

    Meera, it’s so impressive that Missouri now ranks 6th in the US for 13-15 year olds enrolled in Physics, among many positive results of this Physics First project! You are generous to offer to share your wisdom with visitors who might want to draw from your experiences. I am most excited about the app that accompanies the program, serving as workbook, textbook AND lab book! I am also delighted to see how you model physics first learning experiences in your professional development. No wonder about 90% of the districts that started PD with your program still teach physics first! Congratulations. I hope those of you exploring physics here will ask Meera your questions and share the features you notice in these resources.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Meera Chandrasekhar
  • Icon for: Breanne Litts

    Breanne Litts

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 01:47 p.m.

    I love the hands-on PD model and am curious to hear more about the structure of the PD. These types of models are important to adopt across a range of settings. Moreover, I wonder what teachers' and students' responses have been to the app. Do they like it? What sorts of learning outcome improvements have you seen? I hope we can get some physics teachers here that might share more of how they would envision using this app in their classrooms. 

  • Icon for: Meera Chandrasekhar

    Meera Chandrasekhar

    Lead Presenter
    Curators' Teaching Professor
    May 16, 2017 | 06:25 p.m.

    The App is still rather new. A couple of schools have pilot tested the app this year. All the units (8 total) will be available for full implementation in the 2017-18 school year, and we hope to collect information on students' and teachers' responses at that time. 

  • Icon for: Nancy Shapiro

    Nancy Shapiro

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 03:51 p.m.

    Pretty impressive increases in students taking physics!  Congratulations!  From your writeup, it sounds like you began working with this app in 2006.  So much has happened to make technology more sophisticated over the past 10 years--I am wondering if you are feeling the need to refresh the technology?  I would imagine that the teachers who have come through the program over the years are increasingly skilled and knowledgeable because of the PD, but do they still see the tool as "state of the art?" 

  • Icon for: Meera Chandrasekhar

    Meera Chandrasekhar

    Lead Presenter
    Curators' Teaching Professor
    May 16, 2017 | 06:28 p.m.

    Hi Nancy, The timeline of the app may not have been clear in the writeup. We started testing the content and the activities in paper-pencil format in 2006. We started working on the app about 3 years ago, and will be releasing all 8 units of content for the 2017-18 school year. Keeping up the the technology is always a challenge - that will be something we have to face in the coming years. 

  • Icon for: Nancy Shapiro

    Nancy Shapiro

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 09:14 p.m.

    Thanks, Meera.  Do you have teachers helping in developing the new units?  what about students?  do they have a role in the development of the new units?  I think Physics First is a great idea! 

  • Icon for: Meera Chandrasekhar

    Meera Chandrasekhar

    Lead Presenter
    Curators' Teaching Professor
    May 16, 2017 | 09:52 p.m.

    Great questions!

    The units were originally written by a curriculum team consisting of 3 faculty and 3 teachers. The units then underwent repeated cycles of revision, thanks to input from several of the 120 teachers that attended PD and used the units in their classrooms over a period of about 4 years. Student feedback was therefore indirect, passed on through their teachers. 

    We currently have a retired teacher working with our team, (Doug Steinhoff, one of the co-presenters) and he has provided excellent feedback on the app. We just went through a major redesign of the electronic grading interface that incorporates his feedback.

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