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White, Susan C. – Physics Teacher, 2016
Last month we highlighted our Quadrennial Survey of High School Physics Teachers. Using data from the survey, we have looked at the availability of high school physics. We report that about 95% of high school seniors attend a high school where physics is offered regularly--either every year or every other year. A U.S. Department of Education…
Descriptors: Surveys, Secondary School Teachers, Secondary School Science, Science Teachers
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Zavrel, Erik; Sharpsteen, Eric – Physics Teacher, 2016
The importance of understanding and internalizing the scientific method can hardly be exaggerated. Unfortunately, it is all too common for high school--and even university--students to graduate with only a partial or oversimplified understanding of what the scientific method is and how to actually employ it. Help in remedying this situation may…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Physics, Scientific Methodology, Science Process Skills
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White, Susan C. – Physics Teacher, 2016
We have been looking at two different numbers that have been used to describe the availability of physics in U.S. high schools: 60% and 95%. Last month we noted that the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) includes over 7,000 more public schools in the denominator than American Institute of Physics (AIP) Statistics does.…
Descriptors: School Statistics, Statistical Distributions, Statistical Surveys, Physics
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White, Susan C. – Physics Teacher, 2015
In September, we looked at participation in high school physics by race and ethnicity, and we have provided two different views of physics in high school by socioeconomic status (SES). This month, we consider the proportion of seniors attending schools by race and SES. About half of the Hispanics and almost 45% of the African-Americans among high…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, Secondary School Science, Racial Differences
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Nelson, Jim; Nelson, Jane Bray – Physics Teacher, 2015
In this paper, a discrepant event is used to initiate a learning cycle lesson to help students develop an understanding of the concept and equation for buoyant force. The data are gathered using readily available equipment and then graphically analyzed using a four-step analysis consistent with the modeling instructional approach. This laboratory…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Physics, Scientific Principles, Scientific Concepts
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White, Susan; Tyler, John – Physics Teacher, 2015
During the 2012-13 school year, approximately 27,000 teachers taught at least one physics course in a U.S. high school. About one-third of those teachers have earned a degree in physics or physics education; the vast majority of the others have earned degrees in a variety of other science fields. About 53,000 physics classes were taught, ranging…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, High Schools, Secondary School Science, Physics
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White, Susan; Tesfaye, Casey Langer – Physics Teacher, 2014
Since 1987, the Statistical Research Center at the American Institute of Physics has regularly conducted a nationwide survey of high school physics teachers to take a closer look at physics in U.S. high schools. We contact all of the teachers who teach at least one physics course at a nationally representative sample of all U.S. high schools-both…
Descriptors: High School Students, Physics, Enrollment Trends, Questionnaires
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Kalajian, Peter; Makarova, Maria – Physics Teacher, 2014
Humans have evolved to follow their intuition, but as any high school physics teacher knows, relying on intuition often leads students to predict outcomes that are at odds with evidence. Over the years, we have attempted to make this intuition-outcome disparity a central theme running throughout our physics classes, with limited success. Part of…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Physics, Secondary School Science, High Schools
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Humphrey, T. E.; Calisa, Vaishnavi – Physics Teacher, 2014
In 1879, in the midst of the debate between English and continental scientists about the nature of cathode rays, William Crookes conducted an experiment in which a small mill or "paddle wheel" was pushed along tracks inside a cathode ray tube (CRT) (similar to that shown in Fig. 1) when connected to a high-voltage induction coil. Crookes…
Descriptors: Demonstrations (Educational), Motion, Scientific Concepts, Mechanics (Physics)
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White, Susan – Physics Teacher, 2013
Student preparation can be quite nuanced. Not only have students been exposed to a variety of preparatory classes and outside influences, but students also vary in their commitment and approach to their current classes. We asked teachers to offer their opinions on their students' preparation for physics in a number of areas. The overall…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Physics, Secondary School Science, High School Students
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Orzel, Chad; Reich, Gary; Marr, Jonathan – Physics Teacher, 2012
The proper choice of a measurement technique that minimizes systematic and random uncertainty is an essential part of experimental physics. These issues are difficult to teach in the introductory laboratory, though. Because most experiments involve only a single measurement technique, students are often unable to make a clear distinction between…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, Science Experiments, Laboratory Experiments
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Korsunsky, Boris; Huckins, Grace – Physics Teacher, 2011
In 2008, this magazine ran an article describing the results of a survey of the eighth-graders who were about to begin their first physics course at Weston High School. The results helped this coauthor (BK) and his high school colleagues better understand the expectations of the incoming students. It seemed useful, however, to conduct another…
Descriptors: High Schools, Advanced Placement, Physics, Grade 9