Page 39 - 2012-01-20

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Perimeter held its first Perimeter Teacher Network conference in
October 2010. In The Power of Ideas contest, teachers told us about the
creative ways they integrate Perimeter’s resources in their classrooms
and winning entries were shared with the rest of the Perimeter Teacher
Network. Outreach staff also presented 15 on-location workshops at
teacher conferences to over 1,250 educators across Canada.
Without theoretical physics, there would be no computers, Internet,
DVDs, cellphones, video games, or texting. By making connections
like these between everyday life and physics, Inspirations content
aims to intrigue and motivate junior high school students to continue
with math and science in senior grades.
In 2010-11, Perimeter produced two new Inspirations modules,
combining online and in-class components tied to Alice and Bob
in Wonderland, a popular series of 60-second animations which
entertain while introducing deep ideas about the universe.
Explorations modules, aimed at senior high school students, delve
deeper into more challenging ideas and technical content, providing
excellent preparation for post-secondary education in math, science,
and engineering. Three Explorations modules have been produced
to date: The Mystery of Dark Matter, The Challenge of Quantum
Reality, and the popular Planck’s Constant LED activity. A new
module on particle physics will be released in early 2012.
When high school teacher Laura Pankratz
attended the 2010 EinsteinPlus Teachers’
Workshop, she was already familiar with one
of Perimeter's hands-on resources – a stretchy
piece of fabric used to illustrate gravitational
warping of spacetime as described in the special
theory of relativity.
One of the other participants had a fresh idea,
though – rather than create a depression in the
fabric to simulate gravitational attraction, why not
create a peak to demonstrate a repulsive force
such as that caused by an electrostatic charge? It
was a simple but original idea that expanded the
fabric’s pedagogical potential.
The idea stayed with Pankratz, who is a science
curriculum assessor for the Government of
Alberta. Months later, at the Alberta Teachers’
Association Science Council Conference,
Pankratz used the fabric to illustrate how it could
be used more broadly to teach students about
fields and atomic models.
The fabric – and its expanded use – has now
found its way into the hands of students in Alberta
classrooms, just one example of how Perimeter's
impact extends far beyond its original activities.
Perimeter’s classroom resources have been
used by over 500,000 students across Canada
to date
Teacher feedback indicates Perimeter
resources are used and re-used in the
classroom. Activities from The Challenge of
Quantum Reality and Measuring Planck’s
Constant have been integrated into Ontario’s
official grade 12 physics textbook.