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Program for the Fall 2008 meeting


Saturday, 8 November 2008
Cal Poly Pomona

Meeting Room: Building 3, Room 2137


Friday, 7 November 2008 (the day before the regular meeting!)
PTRA Workshop for New HS Physics Teachers
More information available here

Local Host: Mary Mogge

Contribute a 15 minute talk or a brief demo for the Show'n Tell segment using the online submission form or communicate directly with the program chair, Jeff Phillips.
The deadline for contributions for the Fall meeting is now past.

Lunch will be at Cal Poly Pomona's award winning student cafeteria, Los Olivos. The cost is $7 at registration or $7.75 at the door. It's an all you can eat brunch 11 - 1 on Saturdays. It's a 5 - 10 minute walk from meeting room to the cafeteria.

Online maps and directions
Annotated map of central campus
Aerial view of campus with directions from exits to parking lots

Despite what the the campus website may say parking is free on Saturday, as long as you park in a legal faculty, staff, or student spot. We recommend parking in either Lot J or Lot A (see the central campus map) which are near the meeting room, Building 3, Room 2137. There are some spots along University Drive next to Buildings 3 and 8, but those will probably go fast.


John Wiley and Sons, Inc. (Donating door prizes; not exibiting)
Vernier Software & Technology (Donating door prizes; not exhibiting)

Please take some time to check out the commercial workshops and exhibits at the meeting and especially to thank the representatives for their support of our organization.

"What fraction of the Earth's surface is covered by buildings?"
The person giving the median answer is the winner and gets first pick of the door prizes.

Program Schedule  
8:15 AM
Registration, Refreshments, Exhibits
8:30 AM

1. Tours: Recently renovated Cal Poly Pomona teaching and research labs
Organizer—Mary Mogge, Cal Poly Pomona

Self guided tours with a host in each lab. Visit all the labs or just those
of special interest to you. A building map with laboratory descriptions
will be available at the registration desk.

2. Workshop: "Sample PTRA workshop: Teaching about Geometric Optics"
Leader—Jim and Jane Nelson
Room 3-2004

A special workshop on geometrical optics will be given by Jim and Jane Nelson, national leaders of the Physics Teacher Resource Agent (PTRA) program. The PTRA is a highly successful program that trains experienced high school physics teachers to lead workshops as mentors for other high school physics teachers. Jim and Jane will be giving this special workshop to show our members some of their materials on optics and to introduce them to the PTRA program. We hope this workshop will encourge more of our members to become involved in the excellent PTRA program.

10:00 AM

Donald Straney, Dean, Cal Poly Pomona College of Science
Steve McCauley, Chair, Cal Poly Pomona Physics Department

Mary Mogge, Cal Poly Pomona

10:15 AM

Contributed Talk: "A Few Barriers and Facilitators to Learning Physics"
Jeff Phillips
Loyola Marymount University

I will describe some of the factors that correlate with number of the concepts, which were not already known at the beginning of the course, are learned, i.e. normalized gain. Students’ previous knowledge, skills and values all impact their ability to learn physics. In the research done at LMU we have seen that some students essentially learn no new concepts because of their shortcomings. To assist these students we, and others, are developing materials that help students develop the necessary skills and values. I will present some preliminary findings from the Thinking in Physics project.
Online materials

10:30 AM

Contributed Talk: "The Slide Guitar – Physics Meets Music in the Classroom"
Barbara Hoeling
Cal Poly Pomona

We present a simple and inexpensive “science slide guitar” consisting of a wooden board and a guitar string. It allows students to explore how the sound frequency of a plucked string depends on its length and tension. By sliding a piece of copper tubing under the string, we vary its effective length and the pitch. To measure the frequency, we match the string’s sounds to those of a set of eight calibrated tuning forks. After “tuning” the slide guitar, the students are challenged to play a melody on it.

10:45 AM

Invited Talk: "Student Projects on a Budget"
Peter Siegel
Cal Poly Pomona

A number of student projects will be described that can be carried out with minimal expense. I will present examples from my experience over the past 20 years at Cal Poly Pomona, which amount to over 50 undergraduate student projects, 15 of which have been published in AAPT journals with student co-authors. The projects, both theoretical and experimental, are appropriate for advanced high school to undergraduate college students.

11:45 AM

Business Meeting

12:00 PM

Lunch at Los Olivos

1:15 PM

Ceremony: "Dedication of plaque honoring Dr. Harvey S. Leff's service to Cal Poly Pomona and the AAPT"

Copy of letter from Steve McCauley, Chair of the Cal Poly Pomona Physics Deapartment

1:30 PM

Invited Talk: "Looking Back in Time: The Role of Fundamental Constants in the History of Physics"
Antonio Aurilia
Cal Poly Pomona

The latest generation of particle colliders (high-energy microscopes) is capable of recreating in the laboratory the particle soup that gave rise to the universe that we now observe with an array of sophisticated telescopes. Looking back at the earliest possible time (Planck time ~ 10-44 seconds) is beyond the reach of any present, and future, telescope or microscope. Thus, a theoretical understanding of the physical processes that took place during the Planck era represents the greatest challenge, and the Holy Grail, of contemporary physics. This talk combines historical considerations with familiar techniques of dimensional analysis to provide an elementary approach to, and catch a glimpse of, the “Planckian superforce” that shaped the universe that we inhabit today.

Materials for this presentation may be obtained here.

2:30 PM

"Show'n Tell"

James Lincoln: "Gravity drop device and unmixture"

Harry Manos: "Variation on Magdeburg Pressure Spheres from the 99 Cent Store, Hearing Infrared, Electromagnetic Induction with a Theronoid medical healing device"

John Altounji: "Compressed air car video from YouTube"

Christian Villa: "Cell Phone in a Bell Jar"

John Mallinckrodt: "Surprising optical effects with light bulbs"

3:00 PM

Contributed Talk: "Large Lecture Class Survival"
George A. Kuck
California State University, Long Beach

To survive and prosper in large lecture classes has required an increased use technology. A use of modern technology has helped meet the challenge of teaching classes of over 100 students but does not make up for an increase in class size. Technology implementations incorporated have included computer based homework, computer assessments, power point lectures, electronic communications, clickers, and clickers with peer instruction. Only computer based homework has measurably increased learning gain [gain = (post test – pretest) / (1 – pretest)]. Implementation limitations and the lessons learned in the author’s CSULB algebra based physics and physical science classes are presented.

3:15 PM
The World Famous "Order of Magnitude Contest" and Door Prizes
3:30 PM
Meeting Adjourns

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