Two physicists in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences have received a grant award, designed to strengthen the teaching of high school physics throughout the region.
Allen Miller, professor emeritus of physics, and Sam Sampere, an instructional lab manager, have received $7,500 from the John Ben Snow Foundation to underwrite the costs of teaching supplies and materials. They are using the award as part of their ongoing work with the Physics Alliance of Central New York, an educational partnership between the University and area high schools.
“The award help supports ‘make-and-take’ workshops, in which teachers construct experiments that, in turn, become property of their respective schools and demonstrate key principles of physics,” says Sampere, the alliance’s coordinator. “The workshops not only provide useful information and resources, but also give teachers hands-on training.”
One such workshop, slated for this fall, involves the building of linear acceleration simulators. “They’re used to illustrate various conservation laws of physics via analysis of collisions,” Miller says.
Hosted by the University, alliance workshops attract teachers from as far away as Rochester and Ithaca. Miller says value of the workshops extends well beyond the experiments taken back to the teachers’ schools.
“Most high schools have only one physics teacher,” he says, “so these sessions provide a special opportunity for them to engage with their counterparts and to discuss best practices.”