A Summer School For Teachers
When it comes to physics, pros and proteges all share one thing.
"The physics teachers are the ones who have the best toys!" teacher Jim Roble said.
These toys help teach students in a hands-on way instead of old-fashioned equations.
"We use those toys to show principles of physics and actually to create labs where the students can take measurements with the toys," Roble said.
At "Physics First," 72 ninth-grade teachers from across the state came together to learn about energy, motion and electricity.
"If they have the physics understanding, they'll be more successful in chemistry and biology," said Sara Torres, "Physics First" Director.
"They do homework every night," Roble said. "They're in class from 8:30 in the morning until five in the afternoon, with just a one-hour lunch break."
"It's a lot of work, but it's really worth it in the end," said Doug Steinhoff, Jefferson Junior High School.
Steinhoff is eager to learn and better educate his students.
"I hope to get a better understanding of physics myself, especially some of the more advanced physics that we've been going through here, just so that I'm more knowledgeable and can do a better job of teaching my freshman students next year," Steinhoff said.
"Physics First" mirrors a national trend to reverse the traditional order of high school science, making physics for freshman and biology for seniors.Teachers say they hope to approach physics in a different way.
"We don't want our classes to be memorization classes, we want our classes to be understanding classes, so that the students can take their knowledge and not only apply it to our classes, but to things that happen in their everyday life, and to things that they read about in the newspaper, and most importantly, to things that they're going to be voting on later on in their lives," Roble said.
To ensure teachers fully understand the physic lessons at the academy, they must pass an exam before taking the content back to their classrooms. "Physics First" started last year. A state math-science partnership grant funds it. Teachers can earn three credits for participating in the summer academy.