PHYS 6350

Curriculum Enhancement I

July 8 - 18, 2013

PHYS 6350 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 morning and afternoon, two sessions/labs a day. PHYS 6350 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
Tom McNeilus


The course will consist of laboratory-type hands-on activities, physics curricula discussions, pedagogical content knowledge, and inservice activities. During the intensive 9 day session, 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.

    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.

Daily Workshop/Lab Schedule:

Introduction to PHYS 6350

Links to Lab Manual. Click here to go to individual lab activities listed below.

July 8

1a. Discussion, WebAssign, MAPE, Inservice Project, Linear regression equation (calculator), Excel tutorial, grading.
1b. Physical Measurement (computer)
2a. One Dimenional Motion (computer)
2b. Free fall: uniform gravitational acceleration (video)

July 9

3. Velocity and Acceleration (Data Studio)
4. Projectile Motion and Error Analysis (UVa equipment and computer)

July 10

5. Force and Motion (computer)
6. Work and Energy

July 11

7. Collisions and Momentum - Newton's 3rd Law
8. Rotational Dynamics

July 12

9a. Equilibrium of Non-parallel Forces (UVa equipment)
9b. Buoyant Force (Pasco computer experiment)
Inservice proposals due. Finish near noon or soon after.
Afternoon free.

July 15
10. Harmonic Motion and the Pendulum
11. Free, Damped, and Forced Oscillations (computer)
July 16
12. Sound and Oscillations
13. Fluids
July 17
14a. The Ideal Gas Law and the Absolute Zero of Temperature
14b. Heat and Temperature Worksheet
14c. Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream
15. Heat Engines and the First Law of Thermodynamics (computer)
July 18
Check out of housing.
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 Plan Form

Inservice Report Form

Inservice Attendee Report Form (do not need for 2013)

Updated June 20, 2013