Fall Meeting of the Illinois Section of the AAPT and IACT
October 10-11, 2008 - Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois
Last update:  Oct. 6, 2008

Active Learning

Dave Sykes,
Active Learning, Either day
Equipment needs: Computer (with USB) and projection
Comments: I'll be using a PowerPoint file

The Art of Estimation. Dave Sykes, Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield, IL 62794-9256. A new Math Course (Math 105) is being developed at Lincoln Land Community College that is a terminal transfer course that consists of two hours of traditional lecture and two hours of activities (lab) per week. Many of the activities will deal with the mathematical descriptions of natural and social phenomena while one of the beginning activities will deal with having students make estimates of common everyday quantities. In this talk a list of proposed activities for Math 105 and a description of the estimation activity will be presented along with an opportunity for attendees to attempt some estimates for themselves.
  Tom Carter,
Active Learning, Saturday morning
Equipment needs: PowerPoint files will be used

Do Clickers work? For Everyone?. Tom Carter, College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137. Do clickers and the associated Peer Instruction method work for all students? I will review some data from the College of DuPage and Chicago State University that seem to indicate that there may be some problems with this method at least for some students.

Don Reid,
Active Learning, Either day

Volume of Everyday Items. Don Reid, Lincolnwood High School, Raymond, IL 62560. Most students are familiar with standard measures of volume such as a gallon of milk or 1/2 a gallon of OJ. But few are familiar with metric (except for the 2 L soda bottle). Participants will guess and then measure the volumes of several household items packaged in metric volumes.

  Christopher LaRoche,
Active Learning, Either day
Equipment needs: PowerPoint

Old Technology for New Purposes. Christopher LaRoche, Sherrard High School, Sherrard, IL 61281. Students in Sherrard High School's physics class are required to complete a project called "Catalog Creation". Students are asked to choose a device, found in catalogs, that interest them then begin the experimental process of making their own piece of equipment. The goal is to spend little to no money on a device that will function equally well as a catalog bought device.

Christopher LaRoche,
Active Learning, Either day
Equipment needs: PowerPoint

Wind Turbine Physics. Christopher LaRoche, Sherrard High School, Sherrard, IL 61281. Sherrard High School has had the construction of a 600 kW wind turbine in the works for over two years. The time has finally come when the high school will no longer be dependent on company bought electricity. Physics students have been buzzing with excitement and cannot wait to begin data collection and analysis. This presentation will give a brief history of Sherrard's wind turbine experience to date and some examples of student designed projects that are in the works.

  Rebecca Vieyra,
Active Learning, Friday afternoon
Equipment needs: LCD Projector
Comments: PowerPoint file will be used

"Shocking" Optics with Disposable Cameras. Rebecca Wenning-Vieyra, Cary-Grove High School, Cary, IL 60013. A simple laboratory activity will be presented that includes the use of free, already-used disposable cameras available at nearly any Walgreens or Wal-Mart. A demonstration will be given of how the cameras can be used to teach about refraction, concave and convex lenses, and pinholes. Safe-handling instructions and a demonstration of how to carefully discharge a capacitor will be shared. A hand-out detailing the lab activity will be provided.

Bill Hogan,
Active Learning, Saturday morning
Equipment needs: overhead projector to show some transparencies. I'll bring a box of stuff for demonstrations.

Covering Newton's Laws of Motion. Bill Hogan, Joliet Junior College, Joliet, IL 60431. All introductory physics courses spend significant time covering Newton's Laws of Motion. Over the years, I've stolen some ideas that have helped my students understand this material. I will present what I have found helpful to my students in the hope that this presentation will prompt audience members to suggest even more good ideas that I can steal.

  Deborah Lokutz,
Active Learning, Either day
Equipment needs: overhead for transparencies

Energy and Hot Wheels. Deborah Lojkutz, Joliet West High School, Joliet, IL 60435. I will present some lab activities using hot wheels cars and track that help students develop their understanding of the various types of energy, transformations between types of energy and the law of conservation of energy.

Teaching Methods

Chuck Schulz,
Teaching Methods, Either day
Equipment needs: PowerPoint file.

Mössbauer Day in the Modern Physics Course. Chuck Schulz, Knox College, Galesburg, IL 61401. The standard Modern Physics course covers both relativity and introduces wave mechanics. These topics present a range of non-intuitive phenomena that challenge the students' notions of how the world behaves, particularly in the lack of direct connection to student experience: time dilation, gravitational red shift, the uncertainty principle, emission and absorption spectra, Doppler shift, and the quantization of various energies of a quantum system. I have found that introducing the Mössbauer effect one day late in my Modern Physics course is a neat way to both review these topics done earlier in the course and to show real-world examples of the physical phenomena. This talk will show in a condensed form how this works.

  Narendra Jaggi,
Teaching Methods, Saturday morning
Equipment needs: PowerPoint, ability to project the screen of my laptop

Use of Mathematica in Intermediate Quantum Mechanics. Narendra K. Jaggi and John Meuser, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL 61702. We will share some recent, pleasant experiences with the use of Mathematica 6.0 in our junior level course in Quantum Mechanics at IWU. During the first four weeks of the current semester, students in this class have written, as homework, Mathematica programs that do an outstanding job of visualizing the solutions of a number of fundamental problems in non-relativistic quantum mechanics. In particular, we will present the manner in which dynamically displaying the stationary energy eigenstates of the harmonic oscillator in the large quantum number limit, watching the evolution of the exact wave-packet solutions of the harmonic oscillator for variable "amplitude", and contrasting these with the wave-packet solutions for the free particle case is a good example of the significant value of integrating symbolic and numerical computation in the undergraduate physics curriculum.

Ken Mellendorf,
Teaching Methods, Either day
Equipment needs: a PC with PowerPoint, a USB port, and projection
Comments: I will be using a PowerPoint file

Using iClickers. Dr. Ken Mellendorf, Illinois Central College, East Peoria, IL 61635. Here are the reasons why I like using the iClicker student response system in class.


Don Reid,
Demonstrations, Either day
Equipment needs: Overhead screen

The Color of Shadows. Don Reid, Lincolnwood High School, Raymond, IL 62560. Most physics test include color photos of different colors of light shining on different colored objects producing, for some, unexpected results. A few also include photos of shadows cast when two or more colors of light are combined. This presentation will demonstrate the colors of shadows using an inexpensive and easy to use system.



Al Grauer
Research, Either day
Equipment needs: PowerPoint File

Earth's Deadliest Neighbors in Space. Al Grauer, University of Arizona, Silver City, NM 88062. Near Earth Objects [NEOs] are asteroids, comets, and meteorite precursors which pass near the Earth. The impact of a large NEO represents a small, but significant, threat to the global biosphere. The Catalina Sky Survey uses telescopes in Arizona and Australia and discovered more than 450 NEOs in 2007. Collaborators include E. C. Beshore and S. M. Larson.



Grace Johns,
Other, Friday afternoon
Equipment needs: laptop and computer projector
Comments: I will have a PowerPoint presentation.

Promoting STEM Careers to Underrepresented Groups . Grace Foote Johns, Illinois State University Physics Department, Normal, IL 61790-4560. The discussion about improving the recruitment and retention of women in physics is joined by more Educators today than it had twenty years ago. And that is a welcome and long awaited outcome. Our society needs all of its citizens encouraged to reach their potential if the United States is to regain its competitive technological edge. With the pool of college bound seniors is shrinking, Educators/Advisors need to get serious about identifying new sources of potential physics majors. Tapping into "grow your own" philosophies are one way to increase that pool while also helping to retain the students we have. Educators and Advisors sharing their successes and strategies for increasing the number of women (and minorities) in STEM will help all of us to increase our potential recruitment pools. My talk will discuss ISU Physics' successful recruitment and retention efforts and ask others to share their efforts.

  George Bart,
Other, Friday afternoon
Equipment needs: Computer (with USB) and projection
Comments: I'll be using a PowerPoint file.

Who Did This? George Bart, Truman College, Chicago, IL 60640. A brief multiple-choice questionnaire will sample the audience's collective knowledge of a number of introductory physics related examples and events. They have interesting historical origins that are not noted in typical physics texts. Thus, physics instructors commonly do not credit the creators and principals of key aspects of their discipline. Isaac Newton wrote to Robert Hooke that: "If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants." But today, beginning physics courses often neglect the individuals who laid the foundations of our science. This gives an inaccurate picture of how physics progresses. Identifying the giants can provide colorful and inspirational personal stories to humanize physics and enrich the classroom experience. The examples and events considered have a surprisingly common thread. Come and learn what it is.

Tom Holbrook,
Other, Friday afternoon
Equipment needs: PowerPoint, PC Computer w/ Projector

You Too Can be a Presidential Award Winner. Tom Holbrook, University High School, Normal, IL 61790. A brief account of Tom Holbrook's experience as the 2007 Winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching will be presented along with advice on how you can apply, or nominate a colleague, to be the 2009 Illinois Science PAEMST award winner.