Fall Northeast Regional AAPT Meeting

This fall we will be having our first regional meeting in quite some time (1998? anybody know anything more recent?) with the New England, New Jersey and New York sections getting together in the centrally located, and beautiful, Mid-Hudson Valley. Come for the Physics and professional development, stay for the activities and scenery.  Bring a spouse, a special someone or a family, there are plenty of shopping, sites to see and activities around the area for them while you are at the conference and then you can join them afterwards.

We are in the process of constructing the program but we already have a combination of workshops, talks and poster sessions planned.  Click here for the meeting website.

Programming is being lead by the NYSS President Sam Sampere and if you have a presentation or workshop you wish to lead you should contact him at Syracuse University via email.

The meeting is being hosted by Marist College’s Robert Balogh-Robinson and you can reach him at Marist College via email about posters and facilities questions.

A list of local hotels.

A downloadable flyer about the meeting, please pass along the word!
A PDF of the same flyer.




Cherner, et. al. (talk): The paper will present multilayered highly interactive simulation-based virtual

reality modules focusing on alternative energy and energy conservation subjects. Each module includes

multiple labs designed to enhance the understanding of technical concepts and underlying fundamental

principles, as well as to help students master certain performance based skills online. In addition,

the simulations and labs enable students to explore the economic aspect of using alternative energy

systems and energy efficient devices and appliances. The virtual labs can be link with related hands-on

labs to form hybrid laboratories.

Yakov Cherner (ATeL, LLC,   ycherner@atelearnig.com),

Gary Mullett (Springfield Technical Community College, gmullett@stcc.edu)

Stephen Cramer (FIRST Robotics Competitions, cremer@aol.com)

Chonacky (talk): Computational science has made a bold entry into all of the traditional scientific

disciplines and into most technological enterprises during the past decades. Although distinctively

cross-disciplinary in its realization (e.g. the human genome was elucidated by artful combination of

engineering process automation, applied mathematical analysis, and biochemical methodology), many

physics-trained personnel played key roles in integrating this combination of sciences and servicing its

technological needs at all levels. Overwhelming these personnel had BS level degrees.

A look at the recent and current physics undergraduate curricula and the limited computational

presence within them quickly reveals the gap between how we educate our undergraduates and what

they are called upon to do after graduation. This talk will describe a path that may remediate this

disconnect. To to so will require the creative imaginations and contributions of those involved in physics

education at all levels. Our research has pointed to faculty at undergraduate institutions as very

significant prospects for computational integration. But other approaches voices that secondary schools

might be fertile ground for computational reform as well. I will describe what I understand and have

done to date, and will feature computational exercise examples as appropriate. In any case I will

entertain reactions, comments, and novel ideas from participants.

Norman Chonacky

Yale University – Department of Applied Physics

Partnership for Integration of Computation into Undergraduate Physics


36 Lincoln Street

New Haven CT 06511


E-Mail: norman.chonacky@yale.edu

Duffy (talk): Learning Assistants are undergraduates who are trained in pedagogy and who assist with

instruction. The program began at UC-Boulder, and we are now in the third year of implementation

at Boston University (BU). This talk will give an overview of the program, and will present specific

details about how we use Learning Assistants in Physics at BU. One outcome is a positive impact on the

recruitment of future physics teachers, which helps support our efforts at BU under our PhysTEC grant.

In addition, Boston University will be hosting a regional Learning Assistant (LA) workshop on February 7-

8, 2014, for those who are interested in establishing their own LA program, and we will provide further

information about that.

Andrew Duffy

Department of Physics

Boston University

Garber (talk): InterLACE (Interactive Learning and Collaboration Environment) is an

educational research project at Tufts University conducted by the Center for Engineering

Education and Outreach (CEEO) and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF grant

No. 1119321). The goal is to develop a software tool kit and complementary innovative

activities to support collaborative inquiry learning in high school classrooms. The first of

these tools provides a persistent public workspace in which students can visualize, discuss,

and debate fellow classmates’ ideas. It acts as a kind of group memory that enables students

to “build a common visual representation of the problem at hand in order to contribute to

the construction of a shared understanding” (Dillenbourg, 2006). Our ultimate goal is to

shift the organization of the classroom from teacher focused instruction to learner-centered

collaborative inquiry.

Gary Garber

Instructor of Physics

Boston University Academy




Greenman (workshop): Interactive Laboratory Experience (ILE) – A Hands-On and Minds-On

Approach to Effective Physics Teaching

Participants will leave with three full Interactive Laboratory Experience (ILE) activities and a link to

a WEB page containing an additional 30 activities using ILEs to support pre-college and college level

courses on mechanics, electricity & magnetism and waves.  These are activities you will be able to

immediately use with your students with very little if any modifications.

The Interactive Laboratory Experience (ILE) is a derivative of the Interactive Lecture Demonstration

(ILD) pedagogy originally developed by Dr. Ronald Thornton of Tufts University, Malden, MA, USA

and Dr. David Sokoloff of University of Oregon, Oregon, USA. The ILE/ILD pedagogy can be effectively

used as a demonstration technique within large lecture halls, within more intimate student centered

laboratory settings (e.g. a high school classroom and/or University “studio” classroom) and/or as a tool

for professional development for secondary school physics teachers. The ILE/ILD provides a tool that is

shown to markedly improve concept learning of stubbornly held misconceptions.

This 8-step pedagogy intellectually and actively engages students in learning concepts in physics. The

Interactive Laboratory Experience moves students through a learning cycle from soliciting student preconceptions, to engaging in animated scientific peer debate, to leaning from nature, confronting initial

conceptions with experimental observations and making connections to the student’s world outside the

classroom and laboratory.

Participants will leave with an annotated 8-step ILE/ILD “how to” along with a rubric to self assess how

well they are utilizing this pedagogy. In this workshop participants will be fully immersed in experiencing

first hand the use of the Interactive Laboratory Experience/Interactive Lecture Demonstration

techniques. Participants will also use the ILE/ILD self-assessment rubric to evaluate the fidelity of the

presenter to the pedagogy.

Mark D. Greenman

Master Teacher in Residence, Boston University Physics Department

Presidential Awardee in Mathematics & Science Teaching

AAPT Paul W. Zitzewitz Award for Excellence in Pre-College Physics Teaching

Optional – Bring your laptop

Johnston (talk + demo): Demos and apparatus you can build, with free instructions. Some apparatus

will be for sale, cash only. Please stop by my exhibit during the poster session.

John B. Johnston

The Faraday Center

Lojewska (talk): Numerous studies have documented students’ difficulties in learning kinematics

concepts in introductory physics courses and also in grasping these concepts even after taking a

traditional introductory physics course. The focus of today’s presentation is digital video motion analysis

as a teaching tool in an introductory physics course geared towards Physical Education, Exercise Science

and Athletic Training majors.

Dr. Zenobia Lojewska

Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science Department

Springfield College

Magnes (talk): Research has shown that formal and deductive logic cannot be taught.  In

other words semantic knowledge is useless without the procedural knowledge.  Traditional

instructions can be vastly enhanced by giving students the opportunity to learn about their

cognition: metacognition.  Examples include wrappers of various types and more traditional

contemplative techniques.

Jenny Magnes, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Physics

Vassar College



Box 200

124 Raymond Ave

Poughkeepsie, NY 12604

Myers (talk):

Eric Myers




Department of Physics and Astronomy State University of New York at New Paltz

Shober (workshop): Come join us for a brief introduction to modeling physics instruction,

recognized by US DOE as an Exemplary and Promising Science Program since 2001.  True to the

name we will model the process of using the tools of science to develop some foundational

physics ideas with a simple low-tech hands-on lab activity that ties together physics concepts

through multiple representations.  Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptop,

iPad, etc with graphing software in order to analyze the lab activities and to link to electronic

resources. We will also build a Rex Rice-designed apparatus that yields an acceleration gradual

enough to be tracked by hand.

Cost: $10 to participate and take home one apparatus; $30 to take home a class set of eight


Zawicki (talk): The aggregate responses of students to the June 2013 NYS Regents exam will be presented

and discussed.  Exam items will be related to state standards in New England, New Jersey and New

York.  Implications for instruction and the impending adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards, as

well as reading in the content areas will be discussed.

Joe Zawicki

SUNY Buffalo State College

Tim Johnson, Erie 1 BOCES, WNYRIC

Scales (talk): Graphene is a single atomic layer of carbon atoms bound in a hexagonal lattice.  It

was first produced experimentally in 2004 by a team of researchers from Manchester, UK, and

Chernogolovka, Russia, through mechanical exfoliation.  This event started the “graphene revolution,”

which spread quickly around the world attracting the attention of scientists and engineers alike.

Graphene’s discovery was awarded the Physics Nobel Prize in 2010 and the number of publications and

patents related to it is still sharply increasing.  This talk will give an overview of graphene’s surprising

electrical, optical and mechanical properties that arise due to its two-dimensional structure.

Graphene’s electrons, moving in the periodic lattice potential of the two-dimensional crystal,

form energy bands where the mass of electrons are effectively changed.  In a strong magnetic field, the

cyclotron orbits of electrons are quantized and Landau levels form.  These levels are highly degenerate.

In 1976, Hofstadter showed that for a two-dimensional electronic system, the interplay between these

two quantization effects can lead to a fractal-type energy spectrum known as “Hofstadter’s Butterfly.”

The talk presents results that indicate that the Hofstadter Butterfly appears in graphene’s energy

spectrum as well.

Austine Scales

Department of Physics and Nuclear Engineering

US Military Academy at West Point