Spring 2022 Meeting of the Illinois Section of the AAPT

"Developing High School Physics Teachers"

8-9, 2022
Department of Physics
Illinois State University
Normal, IL

We are pleased to invite you to attend the Spring 2022 meeting of the ISAAPT. Come to learn more about physics, discover new tools and techniques for teaching physics, share your experiences via contributed presentations and Take Fives, and meet old and new friends.

Register to attend! - Prepay your meeting fees!

List of Presentations - Click on the tabs to see the details

Attendees - Click on the tabs to see the details

Campus map - Parking - Hotels - Map - Photos

Registration will be at the Planetarium (building 60 on the Campus Map).

Invited Speakers

Hunting the Invisible Dragon: Dark Matter In The Solar System and Beyond - Matt Caplan, Department of Physics, Illinois State University

12:00 – 1:00 PM Friday, April 8

After a century of observations, the evidence for dark matter is now overwhelming. And yet, despite dozens of independent observations confirming its presence, an exact explanation for the nature of this matter has eluded us. One possibility is that black holes formed in large numbers in the first seconds of the universe, which persist to this day. Testing this hypothesis is challenging, as these black holes can be microscopic and have very small effects on their immediate surroundings. However, if the dark matter is made of such 'primordial black holes' we might expect a few to be present in the solar system at any given time, potentially making direct detection possible.

Promoting Model-Based Reasoning through Computational Modeling and Simulation Practices - Alejandra Magana, W.C. Furnas Professor in Enterprise Excellence in the Department of Computer and Information Technology at Purdue University

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Saturday, April 9 Schroeder Hall 236.

Abstract: Modern science and engineering workplaces now use modeling and simulation practices coupled with computational tools to aid in the analysis and design of systems. In light of the integration of these practices in the workplace, science and engineering educators have started to identify the breadth and depth of computation, data science, and modeling and simulation skills needed by the 21st Century STEM workforce. This agenda establishes an integrated evidence-based program of research and education centered on how people develop model-based reasoning through authentic modeling and simulation practices in science and engineering, and to use this knowledge to develop strategies that will prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers to be capable of addressing complex interdisciplinary problems. Through a series of comprehensive qualitative and quantitative research studies we attempt to understand (i) How can faculty support student model-based reasoning using computational tools? and (ii) How can students develop computational adaptive expertise?


W1 Integrating Computation into Your Introductory Physics Course - hosted by Kelly Roos from Bradley University
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Friday, April 8 - Schroeder Hall 236


The purpose of the workshop is to introduce participants to several basic examples of computational activities that can be readily implemented in introductory college and high school physics courses. The participants will be guided in implementing some useful tools in spreadsheet and browser-based programming environments, with a view towards demonstrating just a few of the myriad possibilities for exposing introductory students to computation. The workshop will also include a discussion on benefits and challenges involved in integrating computation, and practical ways to start out by inserting an activity or two (or more as comfort allows) into introductory courses. Participants will also be provided with a brief tour of the PICUP website (PICUP=Partnership for Integration of Computation into Undergraduate Physics), and encouraged to get plugged into the larger PICUP community for ongoing support in their pedagogical efforts.

Who Should Attend

Both college and high school faculty are welcome. If you have little or no prior experience with integrating computation into an introductory course, and you would like help finding out how to get started, you are encouraged to attend! To be most engaged at the workshop, participants are encouraged to bring along their favorite mobile computing device.

W2 Explicit Problem-Solving Instruction for Physics - hosted by Tom Foster from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Saturday, April 9 - Schroeder Hall 236


Physics problem-solving is more than getting the right answer into a box on the computer. However, it is the answer which is graded by homework systems such as Mastering Physics and WebAssign. While some problems in these systems are broken down into steps chosen by the problem author, rarely is the entire problem solving process considered. PER has established that for students to comprehend physics conceptually and analytically from doing problems, solutions to those problems require conceptual representations, starting from fundamental principles, generating meaningful mathematical models, and evaluating the answer. None of this is graded by Mastering Physics and WebAssign and therefore is not reinforced by instruction or valued by the students. This fill-in-a-box skill the students practice is also lends itself easily to cheating. We have developed a problem-solving tool, PathPlan Mechanics, that helps students practice building problem-solving skills. In this workshop we will introduce you to PathPlan, the cognitive-science theories that support PathPlan’s architecture, and some of our successes (and humorous failures) in the classroom. Most important, we will let you “play” with PathPlan on your iOS or Android tablet (we will bring a few extra tablets). Experience problem-solving the way your students should.

Who should attend

Any HS, TYC, 4year college, or university physics instructor who want to help their students become better problem-solvers.

Planetarium Show: "The Hot and Energetic Universe" 4:45 to 5:45 PM Friday

Host - Raymond Zich, Illinois State University, rlzich@ilstu.edu