2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years past Meetings and Events - See Home page for upcoming events (linked above):


June 1, 2013 - Annual SLAPT Planning Meeting
Location: John Burroughs

Attenders discussed and proposed various workshops for school year 2013 - 2014. A rough schedule was drafted.

April 27, 2013 - Annual Physics Contest
Location: Washington University, St. Louis, MO

The Physics Department of Washington University in St. Louis will host a competition to be held on its campus Saturday, April 27th, 2013. The contest itself, open to all high school students, will have two different exams held at the same time. The first option ("The Mechanics Test") will be only mechanics and consist of 50 multiple-choice questions. The cash prizes for this exam will be: First Prize of $100, Second Prize of $50, and Third Prize of $25. We will present Certificates of Honorable Mention to the next highest scoring twenty percent of the contestants, and we will award certificates to the top three scoring schools. We encourage first-year physics students to take this test.

The second option ("The Senior Test") will consist of 50 multiple choice questions with one or two tiebreaker problems, and will include both qualitative and quantitative questions. The approximate numbers of questions covering the various topics will be: mechanics (18), waves (5), sound (3), fluids (1), thermodynamics (4), electricity and magnetism (11), optics (5), and modern physics (3). The cash prizes for this exam will be: First Prize of $100, Second Prize of $50, and Third Prize of $25. We will present Certificates of Honorable Mention to the next highest scoring twenty percent of the contestants, and we will award certificates to the top three scoring schools.

For both exams we will allow calculators of all types. It is the responsibility of the teacher to ensure that all calculator memories are cleared. We will supply the values of physical constants, but no equations. Students are not allowed to bring a formula sheet. As an added incentive, you might want to consider allowing those students who place on their physics contest exam to become excused from their final exam in your course. The test is also an excellent practice opportunity for students who will be taking the AP exam.
Each contestant may keep a copy of the test, but we will not return the graded answer sheets. We will send a list of all winners to teachers with students participating in the competition along with statistics on the test results. Individual scores will be kept confidential, except that we will report the score of each contestant to his or her teacher.

The tests will run from 9:00 am until 11:00 am followed by a 1-1/2 hour lunch break and an award ceremony lasting from 12:30 until 1:00 pm. Students should arrive at 8:40 am. The test and awards ceremony will take place in Crow Hall in the northeast section of Washington University's Danforth Campus. Maps can be found here: Crow is building 23. Metered parking is available along Brookings Drive, and visitors may park in yellow parking spaces on Saturdays at the east end of campus. There is a cafeteria on campus. There will be no fee for entering the competition, as it is sponsored by Washington University's Institute for School Partnership. To register, please send an email to Kasey Wagoner,, with your full contact information and a list of student names (and which test they will be taking) by April 22, 2013. We will be able to accommodate 200 students. To keep the teachers busy, Dr. Kasey Wagoner of Washington University will give a public lecture on Relativity and Collisions at 10am in the same building.

Results will be provided after the contest. To see details from years past, please click: Annual SLAPT Physics Contest.

April 26, 2013 - Six Flags Physics Day
Location: Six Flags St. Louis
Host: Six Flags personnel, Rex Rice, Jen Meyer, Gabe DelaPaz

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 2013 order form is available on this website HERE or at Six Flags website HERE. -- or call Six Flags at 636-938-4800 ext 288. 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 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.

March 9, 2013 - Project CLEA: Observational Astronomy Simulations in the Instructional Laboratory
Location: Southwestern Illinois Junior College
Presenter and Host: Frank Cange

Unlike most other sciences, astronomy is largely observational and non-experimental. Making useful observations involves expensive equipment over time scales inconvenient for pedagogy. In recent years, however, the advent of large on-line data bases and fast PCs has made it possible to realistically simulate the experience of research astrophysics in the lab. Project CLEA (Contemporary Laboratory Experiences in Astronomy) has been developing such computer-based exercises aimed primarily at the intro astronomy lab. We will review some of the many CLEA exercises and modules that simulate important techniques of astronomical research and explores avenues to obtain materials and software.

February 23, 2013 - Joint American Chemical Society and SLAPT meeting/workshop - Using "The Cloud" and other technologies in the classroom

Location: Webster High School, 100 Selma Ave. Webster Groves, MO; room 374 ---Dave Powers gave a presentation on the integration of technology and web applications into the classroom.

January 26, 2013 - "My Lesson - In Three Parts at Kirkwood High

Val Michael, Jim Cibulka, and Keith Henderson presented a variety of great ideas and techniques, for structuring lessons, collecting data, demonstrations, and lab stations. Val presented her techniques for analyzing dynamic's cart collisions with Logger Pro using Video Analysis, along with presenting a great group activity of analyzing a set of graphical data that was "wrong" and then making it "right." Jim gave an overview of a methodology that he has started to use for his freshman physics classes called: "Goalless Problems." The basic structure is to provide a video clip of some action/event, with a miniumum of introduction, then allow the students in groups to formulate a set of analysis and modeling techniques based on physics principles, then challenge the students to go beyond the basic requirements to help them frame more complex concepts. And, finally, Keith went over several of his demonstrations and lab activities, including: 1. Pulleys to lift your own body weight; 2. Projectile motion analysis using a dynamics cart plunger, 3. magnetism with a CRT, and techniques for demonstrating Force on moving charges in a magnetic field; 4. Several great ideas for Uniform Circular Motion lab stations, 5. A fresher on the always confusing topic of color. Some photos from the workshop are located HERE. Check back here later for another link to additional resources regarding this workshop.

December 8, 2012 - VPython and using graphs to solve kinematic problems at Parkway Central High School

Jen Meyer and Ryan King led a workshop introducing teachers on the use of VPython -- a free, open-source module for creating 3D simulations. Students can spend minimal time learning the language and they can create simulations of physical phenomena that both demonstrate that they understand the phenomena and show them the intricacies of the phenomena. VPyton resources were shared and teachers had a chance to test drive the system. Also in this workshop benefits of teaching students to use graphs as a method of solving kinematic problems was shared.

November 10, 2012 - Energy II - Make N Take At Clayton High School

Last year we had two workshops on how to teach/develop the ideas associated with energy.  We made our way through the beginning introductions and some concept development.  The goal of this workshop was to take the next step and see how the quantitative parts of the model are added.  The focus was both experimental and problem oriented.  Rex Rice and Gary Taylor procured all the parts to make the spring assemblies for both Pasco and Vernier track systems. For further info contact Gary Taylor For photos and videos of the workshop click HERE.

October 19, 2012 - PTRA workshop – The Role of Toys in the Teaching of Physics

Toys can be used to set the stage for a learning cycle. They can be used to probe student’s understanding of everyday events. They can also be used as a way to assess a student’s procedural learning. Whenever toys are used to stimulate the conversation, kids engage quickly. In this workshop, attendees test drove a few scenarios using toys, and investigated using toys for assessment and worked on a sequence of questions that addressed “what” toys, where they can be obtained , and how to get kids to work and not just play. A PTRA manual on toys was provided along with a few good toys. Contact Val Michael for further info

October 6, 2012: Six Flags For Teachers

To learn more about how to include amusement park physics into the classroom, teachers (and a guest) attended a free workshop at Six Flags. The event included a behind-the-scenes tour of the engineering that makes the rides work. Also, an overview was provided of the resources available to use with students in preparation for Physics Day and to use at Physics Day. Finally, the teachers used wireless data collection devices and rode rides. Breakfast and Lunch was provided. Leanne Creek, from Six Flags hosted the event along with Rex Rice, Gabe DelaPaz and Jen Meyer. Additional Six Flags Physics day curriculum materials and information can be obtained at:

September 22, 2012 - Newton’s 2nd Law Experiential Trio and National Board Certification Portfolio

Bob Brazzle led attendees through a sequence of experiential activities for students to develop a better undestanding of motion and Newton's Second Law. Using simple, inexpensive items such as bowling balls, bathroom scales and a metronome, students are able to develop models for motion leading to the Second Law. One of the activities was pushing a car with bathroom scales. He also provided a better undertanding of the National Board Certification process which he is in the process of completing. Bob Brazzle

August 25, 2012 - PTRA Workshop using Newtonian TIPERS to Teach Physics

Val Michael led a workshop focusing on the use of Ranking Tasks and TIPERS in helping to assess student understanding. Ranking tasks create environments for interactive engagement where kids do a fine job of teaching each other and they serve as excellent assessments of conceptual understanding. Held at John Burroughs, attendees received a TIPERS book. Point of contact: Val Michael

May 19, 2012: Planning Meeting for 2012-2013 SLAPT events

The meeting was led by incoming president, Val Michael and resulted in a tentative schedule of workshops and events for the next school year. The meeting was held at John Burroughs.

April 28, 2012: Annual Physics Contest

Coordinated by Washington University. For the results and a great history of many past contests, please click: Annual SLAPT Physics Contest.

April 27, 2012: Physics Day at Six Flags

Another great day at Six Flags St. Louis with Rex Rice, Gabe DelaPaz, Jen Meyer and all the Six Flags staff coordinating the data collection activities at Mr. Freeze.

April 14, 2012: Lightwave Communications

Rex Rice led a hands-on workshop working with a variety of inexpensive, and common equipment illustrating lightwave communications fundamentals. Click HERE for a complete description with associated links to background information and equipment sources.

March 10, 2012: Using Google Cloud resources in the classroom and lab

Greg Schade, Jen Meyer, Lydia Spoor, Hal Harris and Mike Johns shared the resources available with Google documents, gmail, blogs and other "cloud" resources. Participants had the use of UMSL computer stations in Benton Hall to set up their own accounts and documents.

March 3, 2012: Joint Meeting with American Chemical Society - Energy
The two organizations met at Westminster Christian Academy to discuss the common concept of Energy and ways to teach it to Physics and Chemistry students.

1.  Energy Pre-activity/Feynman lecture/Representing Energy by Rex Rice
2. Energy discussion    by Nathan
3.  Energy Charts—Bars and Pies   by Gabe
4.  Chemical Energry  -- by Larry Dukerich  and  Hal Harris
5.  Applications /whiteboards--- choice of chem./physics examples      Rob/Jen&
Other materials to share/discuss:  Energy Concept Inventory

December 3, 2011: Audacity and Ruben's Tube Make-N-Take

Jen Meyer and Bob Brazzle let the participants in two parts - one was learning about the audio analysis and recording computer program called Audacity. Teacher notes, instructions, and computer files for several lab activities with Audacity were provided along with the free program. Jen obtained all the materials required to construct a Ruben's Tube - the great demonstrator of sound waves using a stove pipe with a series of holes that when charged with natural gas and ignited provide a striking visual of standing sound waves. Particpants then constructed the tubes. The workshop was held at Parkway Central. Click HERE for the Ruben's tube construction instructions. If you want further information contact Jen Meyer at: or Bob at:

November 12, 2011: PTRA Workshop – Demonstrations

Val Michael took us through a good look at the role of demos in teaching physics.  Several demos that are personal favorites were demonstrated and discussions ensued on how to engage students using them along with connecting demos to active activities such as writing across the curriculum, practicums, and 5E lesson planning. Attenders received the PTRA manual as well as more demos on the PTRA websites. Host/Presenter:  Val Michael

October 1, 2011: Teacher day at Six Flags

To learn more about how to include amusement park physics into the classroom, Six Flags sponsored a free workshop with a behind-the-scenes tour of the engineering that makes the rides work. A overview of the resources available to use with students in preparation for the annual Physics Day in April was also provided. Presenters: Rex Rice and Six Flags Personnel

September 17, 2011: Energy Transformations

Energy transformations was the focus at Parkway Central High School. Activities were shared from the “Modeling of Energy” workshop from a few years ago that was presented by Debbie Rice, Rex Rice, and Mark Schober .   Participants performed the activities and left with lessons to go right into the classroom.Contact person: Suellen Cedergreen at: or

August 27, 2011: Uniform acceleration Apparatus Make and Take.

Gene Bender led a make and take at DeSmet High School for a great apparatus to allow students to visualize and model acceleration at a pace they can comprehend. It consists of a wheel and axle rolling slowly down an incline made of two pipes. Contact person: Gene Bender at:








Click HERE for a listing of archived 2009 and earlier events

Past Meetings and Events (Calendar Year 2010 through Summer 2011):

July 12-14, 2011: Investigate Physical Science - Washington University Science Outreach Workshops
Washington University Science Outreach and The Department of Physics, along with School Specialty, sponsored a three day Physical Science workshop. Click HERE for further information. Point of contact: Jessie Herman of School Specialty at
May 14, 2011: SLAPT planning meeting for 2011-12 - at Suellen Cedergreen's House 8:30 - 12:00
Contact: SLAPT president Gary Taylor for info:
May 7, 2011: 26th Annual Physics Contest at SIUE
Schools competed in this annual competition. Results and a link to historical information on this event on this website at THIS LINK. Contact person: Tom Foster:
April 29, 2011: Physics Day at Six Flags
Another great Physics Day at the best and largest outdoor high school physics lab! See the Six Flags Resources page on this web site. (link in right hand sidebar) .
April 16, 2011: Power Behind the Labadie Power Plant
We met Jim Dean from Ameren at the coal fired electric plant in Labadie, MO. It was a very informative and interesting discussion and tour. See the video and photo gallery at THIS LINK. Contact person: Gail Haynes, Eureka:
March 10, 2011: St. Louis Section, American Chemical Society Topic Group Meeting
The Spring ACS meetings was held on March 10 at Rockwood Summit High School. The primary topic was project-based learning. Both Summit and Burroughs teachers have developed programs around the exploration of biofuels. We had a liquid CO2 demo and a simple redox lab. Contact person: Mike Howe, Clayton: .
February 12, 2011: PVC Musical Instrument Workshop
Bob Brazzle led a workshop at Parkway Central focussing on the construction of a musical instrument from common materials and learning the "Wave in a Box" model of resonance. The unit culminates with a performance assessment playing a prescribed song. Participants received a CD containing the files from the unit as well as plans for making various instruments. POC: Bob Brazzle .
January 15, 2011: Freshman Physics Waves Workshop
Jim Cibulka led a workshop centered on Kirkwood's 4-6 week Freshman Waves Unit. Based on the Modeling waves units it incorporates mechanical waves in 1-d and the wave model of light. Participants went through an introductory lesson that utilized slinkies, video, simulations and ripple tanks, then visitied various stations with the labs, demonstrations and simulations that teach the rest of the unit. POC: Jim Cibulka .
December 4, 2010:Vernier Workshop
Gary Taylor and Hal Harris led a workshop at UMSL focussing on digital data collection with Vernier equipment. The event included a guest speaker from a manufacturing company. POC: .
November 13, 2010:Video Analysis Workshop
Jen Meyer led a great workshop at Parkway Central on using video analysis in the physics lab. POC: .
November 3, 2010: Hal Harris and "Irrational Science"
Hal Harris, Phd, from UMSL led a discussion on how society gets influenced by public discourse about science that sometimes is misleading - part of the St. Louis Academy of Science series of FREE Public Science Seminars -- Click HERE for a brochure of their 2010-2011 events.
October 9, 2010: Six Flags Workshop for teachers
A half day look for teachers behind the scenes at the biggest physics lab -- Six Flags Amusement Park. Click HERE for further information on Six Flags and SLAPT's partnership.
August 28, 2010 and September 11, 2010: Refresher Physics/New Teachers Workshop I and II Grant from AAPT for two workshops that were a walk through of activities for the first year of physics in a physical science class, a Physics First class or an upper level general physics class.
Contact: Valerie Michael:
July 17-21, 2010: National AAPT Summer Meeting 
Place: Portland, Oregon (home of Vernier Software and Technology, by the way)
May 8, 2010: SLAPT planning meeting for 2010-11 - at Valerie Michaels House 8:30 - 12:00
Contact: SLAPT president-elect Jennifer Meyer to RSVP:
May 1, 2010: Twenty-fifth Annual SLAPT High School Physics Contest - this year held at Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville, IL; This contest is open to all high school students and will include two different exam levels. Click HERE for complete details on entering the contest. Point of Contact: Frank Cange at
April 30, 2010: Six Flags Physics Day - click link below for information
April 15 and 22, 2010: PTRA Workshops - Ranking Tasks and TIPERS
Place:St. Louis Community College at Meramec, Science West Room 206
Click HERE for additional details
Contact: Valerie Michaels: at 636-458-9498 or email at
March 26-27, 2010: Spring Meeting of the Illinois Section of AAPT
Place: Blackburn Coll., Carlinville IL
February 27, 2010: Joint ACS-SLAPT meeting – DVD Spectrometer Make-n-Take Workshop
Place: John Burroughs School
Contact: Hal Harris
February 13-16 2010: National AAPT Winter Meeting with APS
Place: Washington, DC
January, 2010: Nuclear Physics Update
Presenter: Linda


St. Louis Area Physics Teachers