About Modern Physics Resources for High School


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Left: Circular motion demonstration, photo by Rolly Meisel........Right: Some of my star robot(icist)s.

Hello, I am Roberta Tevlin. I am a physics teacher in Toronto, Canada. During the year of Physics - 2005 - I radically changed my approach to teaching physics becauseof two events. First, I attended the Einstein Plus Workshop at the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics that summer and I couldn't wait to start teaching more modern physics in my classes. Secondly, I read Carl Weiman's article in Physics Today called "Transforming Physics Education" and I realized that I had been teaching ineffectually over the past 20 years. I wanted to improve the learning in my classes by incorporating techniques from PER.

Then, I hit a major snag. There are very few good resources available that:
1) are ready-to-use and cheap
2) deal with 'modern' physics
3) easy-to-use by teachers - teachers can learn the essential physics while checking out the lesson
4) are appropriate for high school students
5) involve the students as active learners

There are many great resources out there, but they are very hard to find because there is so much weak stuff that you have to wade through first. This website is a collection of materials that I have found or have modified or developed from scratch. In order to make this collection really useful, I am looking for teachers who would like to help by suggesting improvements to the existing resources or adding new resources that they have found or developed. If you would like to contribute, please contact me at the email address that would be pronounced "Roberta at Tevlin dot ca".

I would like to thank the following teachers for their help: Andrea Misner (Nova Scotia) for providing the detailed lesson templates and John Atherton (Toronto) for catching typos. Also, huge thanks to Laure Ghia (Hamilton) and Julie Lemay (Alberta) who translated the PowerPoint slides for Special Relativity: Part1, Part2, Part3 and Part4 and Presentation Incertitude into French. Tahira Nasreen and Dan Blanchard (York Region S.B.) made a brilliant suggestion for improving the quantum eraser. Tim Langford and Sarah Torrie presented the quantum eraser at workshops with me and made excellent suggestions. Thanks also to Mark Ackersviller who found a glaring error in the Spacetime Diagram answer sheet. Dave Doucette (Aurora) has made valuable suggestions to improving the structure of many of the lessons, in particular to scaffold the learning properly. Philip Freeman (Vancouver) has been invaluable in improving the lessons involving general relativity. Robert Prior (Toronto) and Rolly Meisel are two wonderful roving physics photographers who took some of the pictures. Nanouk Pare (Montreal) translated the worksheet that goes with TRIUMF's approaching the speed of light into French as well as two particel physcis worksheets.