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------- Information on upcoming SLAPT Workshop Events for 2014-2015 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 23, 2014 - Models, Curriculum and Standards

Date:August 23, 2014
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Location: Kirkwood High School
Hosts: Jim Cibulka and Bob Brazzle

The terms “models”, “curriculum” and “standards” are misunderstood and ambiguous.  Our goal for this workshop is to develop a shared understanding of what they are and what they are not.  Participants will engage with several different types of models, experience several examples of the modeling approach to teaching physics, see how the modeling philosophy leads to a powerful narrative (i.e. curriculum), and evaluate the compatibility of this narrative with the Next Generation Science Standards. Email Contacts linked above.

September 27, 2014 Six Flags for Teachers

Date: Saturday, September 27, 2014
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 2015 Physics Day, join us (and bring a guest) for a free workshop at Six Flags on September 27 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:

October 4, 2014 - Competitions and Citizen Scientist Projects for Physics Students (formerly: Resources for an Enriched Physics Program)

Date: October 4, 2014
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
Location: Clayton High School (printed newsletter was in error as it listed the place as Kirkwood)

The October 4 meeting of the St. Louis Area Physics Teachers will take place at Clayton High School. The topic for the meeting will be Competitions and Citizen Scientist Projects for Physics Students. The meeting will start at 8:00 am with refreshments with the actual topical discussion beginning at 8:30 am.

You will receive information about the following competitions with a physics or engineering theme that you might consider making available to your students:

Physics Bowl (American Association of Physics Teachers)
International Physics Olympiad (American Association of Physics Teachers)
St. Louis Area Physics Teachers Association High School Physics Competition (Washington University and SLAPT)
Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering--WYSE (University of Illinois)
Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science--TEAMS (Technology Student Association--TSA)
First Robotics Competition--FRC (FIRST)
Team America Rocketry Challenge--TARC (Aerospace Industries Association--AIA and National Association of Rocketry--NAR)

Bob Brazzle will familiarize you with several projects that fall under the "Citizen Scientist" category. These include the Stanford Protein Folding Project, SETI at home, Stardust at home, and The Journey North Project.

If you know of other competitions or projects that would be of interest to physics students, and would be willing to spend 15 minutes or so informing the group about them, please contact Rex Rice ( or 314-276-0069) and he will add you and your competition to the agenda.

If you bring your flash drive with you, copies of old exams and answer keys from Physics Bowl, International Physics Olympiad, WYSE, TEAMS, and the SLAPT competition will be made available for you to take away on that flash drive.

The meeting will take place in room 203 at Clayton High School. You should park in the faculty parking lot on the east side of the school (near the globe) and enter through the main entrance across from the globe. Clayton High School is located on 1 Mark Twain Circle just south of Maryland Avenue/Ladue Road near the Brown Shoe Company headquarters in Clayton.
A map can be found by clicking HERE.

October 25, 2014 - Introductory Physics for the the Life Sciences - "You Too Can Do Biophysics" - Joint Meeting with the Missouri Association of Physics Teachers (MAPT)


Call for Papers Deadline is October 17

Date: Saturday, October 25, 2014
Time: 8:00 a.m. - early afternoon
Location: St. Louis College of Pharmacy

The SLAPT membership has been invited to the Fall meeting of the MAPT with the primary focus being Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences. Among other topics and presentations, Associate Professor of Physics, Juan Rodriguez, of the Department of Basic Sciences at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy will give a talk titled "You Too Can Do BioPhysis." The new MCAT format, which calls for competencies in how physics relates to the life sciences, is driving a demand for introductory physics courses with a greater biophysics focus. Biophysics is also an enticing area of research that many departments wish to add. Despite the demand, many members of the physics community are reluctant to teach biophysics-related courses, or to undertake biophysics research projects, for fear they are unprepared to bridge biology and physics. Professor McCall will share his personal experiences, and those of others, which will hopefully allay those fears and demonstrate that you too can do biophysics.

Click HERE for full details, plus the opportunity to bring your own discussion topics on any aspect of Physics education to a varied audience. This is a great opportunity.

November 8, 2014 - Using LEDs in your Physics Course

Date: November 8, 2014
Time: Daily - 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Location: John Burroughs School

Eugenia Etkina published two papers in The Physics Teacher about using LEDs in nearly every unit within a general physics course.  Val Michael and Wayne Winters will facilitate several activities using LEDs and will utilize the guided inquiry approach (called the “ISLE” approach) developed by Etkina and her colleagues. Email contacts: Val Michael and Wayne Winters

December 13, 2014 Magnetism Lab Equipment Make and Take. (Reprise)

Date: December 13, 2014
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Location: Clayton High School

This workshop will reprise one originally designed and led by Mark Schober many years ago. The theme of this workshop is magnetism experiments and demonstrations.  Participants will use homemade equipment, some designed by Mark Schober and some designed by Rex Rice, to perform several experiments and demonstrations. The majority of the experiments/demos are about magnetism, but the equipment can also be used for a qualitative electric field mapping experiment which we will also perform. In this workshop, participants will gain experience with the equipment with the hopes that they will have a better idea of whether or not they would like to build some of the equipment at a followup workshop on Saturday, January 10.

For complete details and a list of the experiments and demonstrations that can be performed with this apparatus, along with required support equipment and sensors click HERE

You'll get to use equipment like the equipment that you'll build during the January 10th workshop during these demonstrations and experiments. I plan to have approximate costs associated with building the apparatus for these experiments at the December 13 workshop. We'll take orders for the equipment at this workshop, order and precut some of the parts between December 13 and January 10, and then build the equipment on January 10.

You will be welcome to order equipment sets if you are not able to attend the December 13 workshop, but we will NOT be performing the experiments again on January 10. You may also order parts kits if you aren't able to attend the January 10 workshop, but you will have to pick up the parts kits from Clayton High School and put them together yourself.

It would be very helpful if people would RSVP with Rex Rice ( so that we know how much equipment to set up on Saturday, December 13.

These demonstrations and experiments are appropriate for all physics courses in which magnetism is studied, and would be excellent for AP Physics 2 or AP Physics C E & M courses.

Rex Rice and others will bring back a popular make and take that Mark Schober presented several years ago. Participants will help construct a platform which can be used for several different activities and experiments involving magnetism.  Experience the activities yourself, and then help our team build the set(s) you will take with you.  The sets will be available for a modest cost, which we will advertise closer to the date of the workshop (after we have purchased the materials). Contact email: Rex Rice

January 10, 2014 Magnetism Lab Equipment - Make Day. (Reprise)

Date: January 10, 2014
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Location: Clayton High School

This workshop is the follow-on to the December 13th workshop that detailed the various experiments and demonstrations that can be performed with the equipment that will be constructed on January 10. It would be best if teachers attended both workshops. The intention of the December 13th workshop is to become familiar with the equipment and to decide if it would be a fit for your classroom. If you cannot attend both you still would be able to get the equipment. See above December 13 discussion and click HERE for full details.

Contact email: Rex Rice

January 24, 2015 - Teacher's Choice Workshop

Date: Saturday, January 24, 2015
Time: 8:00 a.m. - noon
Location: Chaminade College Preparatory School room 301 third floor Chaminade Hall
Hosts: Rex Rice, Gabe de la Paz, Ryan King, Lee Johnson, Keith Henderson, and Mike Johns

This workshop will highlight several of the topics requested by the membership in an online survey conducted last year. The topics can be addressed across all high school grade levels, with the first two primarily focused at the 9th grade level. Additionally, the rotational motion and equilibrium topics can be applied to the new AP1 Physics curriculum.


1. Water pressure used as an analogy for electric potential, resistance and current.
2. Introductory Linear Motion Video Analysis using two methods.
3. Rotational Motion Lab Practicums/Demonstrations.
4. Rotational Equilibrium including Classic Ladder Problem with force plates, video and real time data synch.
5. Pasco Capstone and SparkVue software overview (Replacement to Pasco DataStudio)

You can access additional details, topic descriptions, and directions on this website linked HERE or on the Google Drive linked HERE.

Email contact: Mike Johns

February 7, 2015 - Joint American Chemical Society/SLAPT Meeting and Workshop

What:  Joint Meeting of SLAPT and ACS
Where:  To be AnnouncedWhen:  To be Announced

The February meeting will be a sharing session in the areas we all hold in common.  Full details will be posted here later in the school year.

March 7, 2015 - Using Free Videos in your Physics Classroom

Date: Saturday, March 7, 2015
Time: 8:30 a.m. - Noon
Location: Parkway Central High School
Host: Jen Meyer and David Schuster

David Schuster and Jen Meyer will be running a workshop on using a variety of video resources. They will focus on videos and their uses in physics classrooms. There will be break out sessions on the following:

1. Making instructional videos for your students - Are there things you instruct your kids to do over and over and over? Make a video! The students can reference the video at any time and you won't have to repeat yourself a million times.
2. Using videos from Youtube in your classroom - You can use videos others have made to give students real-world examples. Youtube videos are often entertaining and the students relate to them easily.
3. Using direct measurement videos - These videos are really great and they have tons of uses! Click HERE to check them out.
4. Classroom flipping - There is a lot of buzz about flipping classrooms. Much of the research I have found on flipped classroom involves college physics students. We will talk about the challenges and advantages of weaving a flipped model into your routine.
5. Vernier video analysis - Learn how to take a video and analyze it using LoggerPro video analysis. You will select something to video and analyze in this workshop. If you use videos in your classroom bring examples to share.

If you are planning on coming please sign up by clicking HERE. Parkway Central is located at 369 N. Woods Mill Rd, Chesterfield, MO 63017. Park in the main parking lot in the front of the school and enter using the front door. Signs will guide you to room 803. You will walk straight into the building and through the upper commons. Keep walking West until the hallway comes to a dead end. Turn right and room 803 will be on your left. We will start at 8:30am. Feel free to come early and visit with other teachers. We should be finished by 11 or 11:30am. Feel free to email Jen if you have any questions at

April 24, 2015 - Six Flags Physics Day

Date: Friday , April 24, 2015
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. Click HERE for the 2015 order form -- or call Six Flags at 636-938-4800 ext 6288 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 25, 2015 - 30th Annual Physics Contest and Teachers Workshop (Entry deadline April 21)

RESULTS ARE IN.....CLICK HERE for results, exams and keys...

Date: Saturday, April 25, 2015
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 21, 2015 via email

Full details, links, prize information, etc. accessed by clicking 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. and other area physics teachers. During the test there will be a scientific talk by a Washington U. professor. (Details in different format click HERE)

Local deadline March 25, 2015 ---- 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 2015 National AND St. Louis local contest. The local contest ends March 25, 2015, and the National initial qualifying round deadline is April 24, 2015. The local contest is one round only. Here is the link to the main contest website:

May 30, 2015 - SLAPT Planning Meeting for 2015-2016 School Year

Date: Saturday, May 30, 2015
Time: 9:00 a.m. to Noon
Location: 24 Webster Woods Dr. in Webster Groves

This year, the planning meeting will be held at David Schuster’s home on Saturday May 30 from 9:00 – 12:00. Please attend the planning meeting. The more input we get from our members, the better next year’s workshops will meet your needs. There are many ways to help make next year successful and rewarding for our community. You could volunteer to present (or co-present) a workshop, or volunteer to host a workshop at your school. If you have a topic you’d like to present, but feel it is not enough material for a full workshop, we’d still love to hear about it, because we typically have a workshop composed of several short presentations by multiple teachers. If you have a connection to a regional business or governmental agency which does work related to physics or engineering, you could suggest a field trip to the site.

We have an online survey through which you can tell us the topics of greatest interest to you for next year. We would like everyone’s input on this, so please take 5-10 minutes to make your voice heard. The survey can be accessed by clicking HERE. You can also e-mail Bob Brazzle at if you have ideas or any other input. Additionally, we would like to hear your suggestions about how the SLAPT website and other communications tools we have used the last several years can be updated and improved.

Thank you in advance for your participation and for helping make a successful workshop series for the 2015-16 school year.


2014-2015 SLAPT President's Welcome

Bob Brazzle, President – Saint Louis Area Physics Teachers

Presidential Greeting For 2014-2015

    Welcome to the 2014-15 school year!  I hope you had a rejuvenating summer and are ready for the challenges and opportunities of the coming school year.  During our planning meeting in May, we attempted to honor the feedback you all provided in our online survey.  I believe we’ve put together a terrific portfolio of professional development offerings (summarized in the left column of this newsletter) and that these are highly relevant for novice and veteran alike; I hope you can attend most of these workshops.

    The program-level changes I wrote about last year (brought on by the NGSS and the replacement of the AP Physics B course) are in full swing, and several survey responders expressed interest in program-level discussions.  Therefore, Jim Cibulka and I will start the year off with a workshop devoted to the “big picture”, such as helping you make curriculum decisions with consideration of the standards and college readiness, pedagogic decisions based on Physics Education Research, etc.  Several of the other workshops during the year are devoted to enriching your course, with things like contests, authentic inquiry projects, free online videos, and of course a field trip to Six Flags Physics day.  We also will have a workshop specifically designed to address those content topics for which the survey responders expressed the most interest.

    You may have heard of the idea of the “educational pendulum” swinging from one “hot approach” to another every few years.  In my opinion, the solution is to never follow any pedagogic method exclusively.  Teachers must develop a toolbox of diverse approaches to teaching, curriculum and assessment.  Active participation in SLAPT generates this type of rich toolbox, because we are a community of professional learners and peer presenters.  So I really hope to see big turnouts at all of our workshops this year.  Enjoy!

Bob Brazzle


Summer 2015 Workshops - Here is the start of a list of 2015 Summer Workshops hosted and sponsored by other organizations.

American Modeling Teachers Association: Modeling™ Instruction, under development since 1990 under the leadership of David Hestenes (Emeritus Professor of Physics, Arizona State University), corrects many weaknesses of the traditional lecture-demonstration method, including fragmentation of knowledge, student passivity, and persistence of naive beliefs about the physical world. Unlike the traditional approach, in which students wade through an endless stream of seemingly unrelated topics, Modeling ™Instruction organizes the course around a small number of scientific models, thus making the course coherent. It applies structured inquiry techniques to the teaching of basic skills and practices in mathematical modeling, proportional reasoning, quantitative estimation and technology-enabled data collection and analysis. Each summer, Modeling™ workshops are held all over the country. In 2014, almost 1200 teachers took one of the 75+ workshops in 20 states. The content areas of the workshops (depending on location) are mechanics (physics I), E&M, CASTLE, waves, light (physics II), chemistry I and II, biology, physical science, and we are proud to now offer workshops especially geared to middle school science teachers! On the website of the American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA) we have a list of workshops we hope will be offered next summer, the information is subject to change so check the site every so often to see if now your state offers a Modeling™ workshop! Workshops are scheduled for the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, new York, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas. Internationally in Hong Kong.

June 2015- Nuclear Science & Engineering for Secondary Science Teachers A Three Credit Hour Faculty Development Course on the University of Missouri- Columbia Campus

Date: To Be announced but usually in June
Time: Daily -
Location: Various on campus sites at University of Missouri, Columbia - including visits to area energy sites.

This will be the 34th 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.

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 2014-2015 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