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------- Information on upcoming SLAPT Workshop Events for 2013-2014 School Year Posted Below ----- And past events are on the archive page linked above and HERE--------

------- Scroll down to read the incoming SLAPT President's message -- or click HERE. -------

August 10, 2013 - Free Online Resources for Physics Teachers

Date: Saturday, August 10, 2013
Time: 8:00 a.m. - noon
Location: Webster High School
Host: David Schuster

David Schuster will present a bevy of free online resources which you can immediately incorporate into your curriculum. You can bring your own computer if you prefer, or use one of theirs. If you have ideas, or favorite online resources, please send them to David ASAP at

September 7, 2013 - Peter Bohaceks' Direct Measurement Videos

Date: September 7, 2013
Time: 8:00 a.m. - Noon
Location: Kirkwood High School
Host: Jim Cibulka

Jim Cibulka will present an open-ended method he has been using, in which data are directly obtained from video clips without special software. Attendees will have time to work on making their own videos using Kirkwood's high speed (240fps), IR camera, and other specialized equipment. Point of Contact: Jim Cibulka email:

September 21, 2013 Six Flags for Teachers

Date: September 21, 2013
When:  Saturday, September 21, 2013
Time: 8:00 a.m. - Noon
Where:  Six Flags St. Louis, Eureka, MO
Host: Rex Rice, Jen Meyer, Gabe DelaPaz and Six Flags Personnel

Six Flags has been a long time supporter of SLAPT’s development of a comprehensive educational component for Physics Day. Students have a great opportunity to experience one of the best and larger than life physics labs around. To learn more about how to include amusement park physics into your classroom and to better prepare teachers for the April 2014 Physics Day, join us (and bring a guest) for a free workshop at Six Flags on September 21 at 8am. We'll begin with a behind-the-scenes tour of the engineering that makes the rides work. Next, we'll provide an overview of the resources available to use with students in preparation for Physics Day and to use at Physics Day. Finally, we'll strap on our wireless data collection devices and ride, ride, ride!

RSVP to Michelle Westerman, with "Physics Workshop" in the subject line and you and your guest's name in the body of the note. Additional Six Flags Physics Day curriculum materials and information can be obtained at:

November 9, 2013 - Resources and Content for New or Crossover Teachers - Refraction

Date: Saturday, November 9, 2013
Time: 8:00 a.m. - noon
Location: John Burroughs School, 755 South Price Road, St. Louis, MO
Hosts and Presenters: Val Michael and Wayne Winters

SLAPT is offering a workshop for teachers with a need for content in the area of light refraction.  The content will include pre-knowledge needed to build a wave model of refraction, activities for students to investigate the refraction of light, white board discussion of the content, challenges, conceptual development questions, and appropriate word problems.  Come be the student in this workshop and take home materials to help you structure your own unit. 

January 25, 2014 - "My Lessons"

Date: Saturday, January 25, 2014
Time: 8:00 a.m. - noon
Location: Webster High School

This workshop continues in the same vein as last year’s very popular, “My Lesson” workshop. This year, we are opening it up to anyone who wants to share a lesson, lab, demo or activity. This is a great opportunity for professional growth, and to share the awesome things you do with your students. Please consider sharing any of your ideas, lessons, demonstrations, or labs with your peers. The extent and length can be as short as one demonstration anywhere up to an hour or so. Please email both David Schuster and Bob Brazzle with your contribution ideas.

Local deadline March 24, 2014 ---- Engineering Encounters Bridge Design Contest -- formerly the West Point Bridge Design Contest

The St. Louis Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will hold a local contest in conjunction with the national Engineering Encounters Bridge Design Contest. (Which was previously named the West Point Bridge Design contest.) It uses the same West Point Bridge Design software. Click HERE for the Information on the 2014 National AND St. Louis local contest. The local contest ends March 24, 2014 and the National initial qualifying round deadline is May 2, 2014. The local contest is one round only. Here is the link to the main contest website:

February 22, 2014 - Joint American Chemical Society/SLAPT Meeting and Workshop

What:  Joint Meeting of SLAPT and ACS

Where:  Parkway North High School Science Department
               12860 Fee Fee Rd, St Louis, MO 63146

When:  8:00 – 11:30 AM February 22, 2014

Contacts:  Jessie Michael
                   Elegan Kramer
                   Val Michael

The February meeting will be a sharing session in the areas we all hold in common.   Do you have a lab, demo, activity, quiz, lecture, conceptual idea, homework assignment, application to everyday life, or other teaching gem you could share?  We are all in need of just plain more to meet the needs of our diverse students.  Each area approaches our common topics with a different touch that might change/enhance another teacher’s practice.  Some of our common topics are measurement, metric system, gas laws, heat, calorimetry, energy, quantum mechanics, process skills, and math skills.  (Do you know a math teacher who would like to share?  Please invite them too!)  All three of us have something to share.  Do not be shy; everyone has something to offer.  It does not have to be long or complicated.  Shoot us an email to let us know that you are coming.  If weather becomes an issue and we need to cancel, we will send an email to all those who RSVP’d.  We are looking forward to seeing you soon. 

NEW DATE: March 8, 2014 ----- December 7, 2013 - Labs for AP B and C Physics; Transition to AP Physics I and II

Date: Saturday, March 8, 2014 December 7, 2013
Time: 8:00 a.m. - noon
Location: Parkway Central High School
Host: Jen Meyer

In the AP Lab workshop we will do several AP labs and discuss the elements of a lab that are important to include in order to prepare students for the AP test. We will also spend some time discussing the change in the AP tests that takes effect in the 2014-2015 school year. The workshop will cover AP Physics B and C.

March 29, 2014 - Nuclear Science and Research Reactor Tour

Date: Saturday, March 29, 2014
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Field Trip to University of Missouri, Columbia

Bob Brazzle is coordinating this field trip to Mizzou --- which will include a look at the University's Research Reactor Center and several other great opportunities to increase your knowledge base of nuclear physics.

April 25, 2014 - Six Flags Physics Day

Date: Friday , April 25, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Six Flags St. Louis

Again this year, Physics Day is exclusive to high school physics -- Math and Science day is one week later -- giving your students even better access to the rides. SLAPT highly recommends the picnic combo package that includes buffet lunch in the catering grove - it's much better than waiting in lines at the food vendor stations. If you choose to buy park admission tickets without the lunch, you can save several dollars per ticket if you order in advance. You also get one free chaperone ticket for every 15 paid tickets. Bus and car parking is $15 per vehicle. Processing fee is $10 and is indicated on the order form. The 2014 order form isavailable on this website HERE -- or call Six Flags at 636-938-4800 ext 288 for further information. Also again, this year, there will be data collection opportunities at Mr. Freeze with Vernier accelerometers. Students can wear a vest with the equipment attached and then download data following the ride. Teacher volunteers are needed throughout the day to staff the data collection equipment. If you are available, email Jen Meyer at or sign up on the online form HERE to volunteer for as little as a couple of hours or as much as the whole day. Further information and curriculum materials can be downloaded HERE on this web site.

April 26, 2014 - 29th Annual Physics Contest and Teachers Workshop (Entry deadline April 22)

Date: Saturday, April 26, 2014
Time: Tests 9:00 am - 11:00 a.m. (arrive by 8:40); Lunch (provided by Wash U) and demos/discussions 11:00 a.m. - 12:45 pm.; awards ceremony 12:45 pm - 1:15 pm
Location: Washington University Crowe Hall (Maps at:
Entry Deadline: April 22, 2014 via email

Full details are located on this website: click HERE. In addition to the great opportunity for your students to show their Physics prowess in the contest -- which is a great way to practice for the AP and other exams -- there are great opportunities to interact with Wash U. Physics faculty and see some demonstrations.

May 2014 - SLAPT Planning Meeting for 2014-2015 School Year

Date: Tentative, May 31, 2014
Time: 8:00 a.m. to Noon
Location: TBD

Please plan on attending and bringing your ideas for next year's workshops and events.

June 16-20 - Nuclear Science & Engineering for Secondary Science Teachers A Three Credit Hour Faculty Development Course on the University of Missouri- Columbia Campus

Date: June 16-20, 2014
Time: Daily -
Location: Various on campus sites at University of Missouri, Columbia - including visits to area energy sites.

This is the 33rd year Mizzou has offered this course and related energy events. Several SLAPT members have attended in the past and have many a postive comment about it. Seats are limited, so inquire soon. Please visit the website linked here for details, application, and points of contact.

2013-2014 SLAPT President's Welcome

Bob Brazzle, President – Saint Louis Area Physics Teachers

Welcome to the 2013-2014 school year! I believe that this year will be the beginning of significant changes to the entire physics program at your school. There are two reasons for this: First, the long-awaited Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have been released. Second, the AP Physics B course and exam is ending this year, and will be replaced by two exams (and hence two separate courses) next school year: AP Physics I and AP Physics II.

I was a member of the “Critical Stakeholders Team” reviewing the NGSS. There were several content errors in the “Framework” document from which the NGSS were developed, and I pointed these out during each of my formal reviews. Unfortunately, these seem to have propagated through to the current NGSS document. AAPT convened a national-level panel of 14 physicists and physics teachers, and they sent a formal letter to pointing out that there are errors in the Framework, and criticizing the practice of rigidly connecting only one specific “Science and Engineering Practice” with each specific “Disciplinary Core Idea”. It will be interesting to see how these criticisms play out in the coming months and years. Nevertheless, the NGSS are with us, and they will be the drivers of standardized tests for the foreseeable future. In spite of the above issues, I have been very pleased by the statements about the nature of scientific inquiry found in the NGSS (some of which are represented in the Science and Engineering Practices). I have a dream that one day, elementary teachers will tear down their “The Scientific Method” posters from their walls when they finally see how inaccurate and misleading they are. The NGSS is championing this issue and will hopefully give educators a more accurate picture of how scientific inquiry should actually be done. The replacement of the AP Physics B course is actually a related phenomenon: the AP folks have finally addressed the criticism of an overstuffed (too broad and too shallow) curriculum. Their response is to spread out roughly the same set of concepts over two years, and add a healthy dose of inquiry-based learning.

So inquiry is the common theme here. The participants at the June 1 planning meeting discussed these issues, and we will be featuring several workshops to help you navigate the coming changes. First, Jen Meyer will present “Labs for the AP Course” in December. It is the apparent intention of the College Board to give students inquiry-based lab experiences, and Jen will provide some examples. In April, during the annual Physics contest, we are putting together a kind of forum for teachers while their students are testing. We hope to bring in representatives from the College Board, and physics professors from Washington University, Mizzou and UMSL to discuss the specifics of the coming changes, and what a college level physics course looks like.

As we all know, good physics teaching also demands specialized resources, which can be expensive to buy, maintain and upgrade. Two of the workshops address this issue. In September, Jim Cibulka will present activities and labs in which data are directly obtained from videos clips (which can also easily be presented in an inquiry-based way). In August, David Schuster will present a bevy of free online resources which you can immediately incorporate into your curriculum. You can bring your own computer if you prefer, or use one of theirs. If you have ideas, or favorite online resources, please send them to David ASAP at

In November, Val Michael will present a content-based workshop, targeted to new Physics teachers, teachers who are new to Physics and crossover teachers who teach other subjects as well. Val will focus on content related to refraction. Regardless of the targeted audience, I sincerely hope this workshop will be attended by veteran Physics teachers as well, so that great ideas can be shared widely. The truth is that we veterans can certainly learn from the “newbies” as well, and be inspired by your creativity and enthusiasm.

On a related note, we have two workshops in which we need your help, because they will be run as sharing sessions. The January workshop will continue in the same vein as last year’s popular, “My Lesson” workshop. But this year, we want to open it up to anyone who wants to share a lesson, lab, demo or activity. This is a great opportunity for professional growth, and to share the awesome things you do with your students. The February workshop is our annual joint workshop with local Chemistry teachers. This will also be a sharing session. If you have a lesson/lab/demo/activity you’d like to share, please send your idea to me so that we can organize these two sharing workshops.

SLAPT is a wonderful organization, and I am very proud to be its president this year. If you have ideas of how we can meet your needs as a physics teacher, please don’t hesitate to e-mail them to me. We need your help as well: consider nominating someone to be president-elect for the current year (or volunteer yourself). Also, we know that there are great physics teachers in our area who don’t always receive recognition for the great things they do. If you know a local physics teacher who is doing amazing things for his or her students, consider nominating them for the Gene Fuchs award. Thanks and have a great school year!

Summer 2014 Workshops - Here is the start of a list of 2014 Summer Workshops hosted and sponsored by other organizations.

American Modeling Teachers Association: Modeling Workshops in high school physics, chemistry, physical science, and biology will be offered in summer 2014, in many states. Modeling Workshops are peer-led. Modeling Instruction is designated by the U.S. Department of Education as an Exemplary K-12 science program. Some sites offer stipends, usually for in-state teachers. Graduate credit is available at some sites. For information, go to:

Join the American Association of Physics Teachers


Why should you become a member? It's easy, and there are nice tangible benefits: you will receive both Physics Today and either the Physics Teacher or the American Journal of Physics (your choice) in addition to online access to the magazines. AAPT sponsors contests, awards, pre-college and college teacher training programs, programs for physics students, two national meetings each year, facilitates collaborations between all sorts of physics teachers, and provides grants to sections.

Perhaps more importantly, though less tangibly, is that AAPT is our professional organization, and that membership is a professional responsibility. AAPT supports what we do, recruits and trains new teachers, voices our concerns to legislators, and boosts the prestige of our profession.

Additionally, our new AAPT section status gives SLAPT greater visibility and recognition in the national physics teacher community. Our involvement in AAPT through membership and participation in national meetings will further boost the strength and quality of service SLAPT provides to our members.

Click HERE to go to AAPT's online registration site.

Other Workshops and meetings planned for the remainder of the 2013-2014 school year --- Many dates are TENTATIVE -- this website will be updated as they become firm.

Check back here for other possible events during the school year


Past President: Val Michael | President: Bob Brazzle | President Elect: VACANT
Web Page: Mike Johns | Treasurer & Membership:  Gene Bender
St. Louis Area Physics Teachers
- SLAPT Constitution