PHYS 635

Curriculum Enhancement I

July 6 - 29, 2009

PHYS 635 is a laboratory course for those desiring to be high school physics teachers, increase their teaching content knowledge, or work towards our Master of Arts in Physics Education degree. It is a summer residence course at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. It also includes some teaching pedagogy. The course is held in the afternoon, and the companion lecture course, PHYS 631, is in the mornings. PHYS 635 has both homework and quizzes for each laboratory. An inservice project is required for the course which can be done in your local school, school system, or any regional, state, or national teachers meeting.


Professor Stephen T. Thornton
Fred Hoffman
Tom McNeilus


The course will consist of laboratory-type hands-on activities, physics curricula discussions, pedagogical content knowledge, and inservice activities. During the 3 1/2-week summer component, teachers (students) will complete several different kinds of activities including experiments using probes with both graphing calculators and computers, table-based labs, and video-based labs. Technology will be emphasized. During the following fall, teachers will have inservice presentations to complete.


    PDF versions of lab manual will be available here during summer workshop.

    Motion Analysis Video Tape Manual

    Students will be provided with a copy of the video tape and manual during the course. The electronic version is available in case an extra copy is needed.

    Adobe Acrobat reader is required to view this file.

See Participant Photos

Daily Workshop/Lab Schedule:

Activity - click on highlited activity to obtain pdf file
July 6, 2009

1a. Discussion, WebAssign, MAPE, Inservice Project, Linear regression equation (calculator), Excel tutorial, grading.
1b. Physical Measurement (computer)

July 7, 2009 2a. One Dimenional Motion (computer)
2b. Free fall: uniform gravitational acceleration (video)
July 8, 2009

3. Velocity and Acceleration (Data Studio)

July 9, 2009 4. Projectile Motion and Error Analysis (UVa equipment and computer)
July 10, 2009 Show and Tell, Share-a-Thon
July 13, 2009 5. Force and Motion (computer)
July 14, 2009 6. Work and Energy
July 15, 2009 7. Collisions and Momentum - Newton's 3rd Law
July 16, 2009 8. Rotational Dynamics
Inservice Project Proposals due.
July 17, 2009 Science Olympiad
July 20, 2009 9a. Equilibrium of Non-parallel Forces (UVa equipment)
9b. Buoyant Force (Pasco computer experiment)
July 21, 2009 10. Harmonic Motion and the Pendulum
July 22, 2009 11. Free, Damped, and Forced Oscillations (computer)
July 23, 2009 12. Sound and Oscillations
July 24, 2009 13. Fluids
July 27, 2009

14a. The Ideal Gas Law and the Absolute Zero of Temperature
14b. Heat and Temperature Worksheet
14c. Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

July 28, 2009 15. Heat Engines and the First Law of Thermodynamics (computer)
July 29, 2009 Evaluation, final exam.
Appendices A. Selected Constants and Definitions
B. Graphical Analysis
D. Accuracy of Measurements and Treatment of Experimental Uncertainty
E. Vectors


Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Recipe

Inservice Report Form

Inservice Attendee Report Form (do not need for 2009)

Updated July 2, 2009