Monday, May 19, 2014

Light Up Your Day with the Study of Spectroscopy

Check out my most recently published video: "Behind the Scenes with Light and Color: Ten Great Demos" featured on Arbor Scientific's CoolStuff blog.

 This video is 12 minutes long and months in the making. It features a tool, the RSpec Explorer, that allows us to bring spectroscopy into the classroom and involve students, all at once, all together, in the study of spectroscopy. Students can see the light spectrum in many different ways using the RSpec Explorer, a digital spectrometer that is a camera that can see lots of cool things. I give you lots of tips about how to use this tool in the video.

 The video features many demos, including  one that shows a fundamental idea: white light is made of many different colors. Students do not just have to understand this on abstract level, but they can see it!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Summer Physics Workshop!

Would you like to attend a physics workshop this summer? 

We are hosting an interactive workshop with a focus on labs and demos through the Southern California Advanced Physics Teaching Institute. 

Check out this website: SCAPTI 

More details about the workshop, dates, and how to register are included on the homepage. 

What will the workshop be like?

Hands-on Learning and Instructional Methods

In the workshop, you don’t just sit and absorb ideas. While short lectures are often essential, lecturing does not make up the bulk of this workshop. The instructional methods which we suggest you use with students will be modeled and you will participate in demos and lab stations throughout the week.

We believe in hands-on learning experiences for both students and workshop participants. Introducing students to physics concepts using demonstrations can enliven your classroom and help you to improve your teaching.

The Workshop:

The workshop will have 20-30 participants. While you can learn from other participants’ questions, too, we are committed to this—there will always be time for you to experiment with materials, learn how to use physics equipment or ask workshop leaders your questions.

Workshop leaders are available for follow-up questions after the course; we want you to apply what you have learned in the classroom with your students.


Whether you are a new physics teacher or an experienced one, you may not have all the materials in your lab that you’d like. We can teach you how to use physics apparatus that you did not quite understand before.

We will provide you with ideas for how to use free, cheap, or readily available materials for many of the labs and demos. We will also discuss how you can maximize the materials you already have in your classroom.

Finally, we will provide you with awesome goodie bags full of materials that you will need for some of the demos and labs we demonstrate. There will also be giveaways of physics apparatus and other materials from universities and science companies.

What are you waiting for? Sign up now to reserve your spot for this summer’s workshops!