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AAPT Washington Report of the Annual meeting of Washington Section of APPT: October 2010   Outstanding teachers receive awards named in their honor  "You don't teach physics.  You teach students."     Tom Haff

Joel Schaaf (left) and Tom Haff (right) accept Washington State AAPT awards that will henceforth be named in their honor.  Joel Schaaf received the first ever award for Distinguished Service to Washington State AAPT.  Tom Haff received the first award for Outstanding Washington State High School Physics Teacher.

The highlight of the October 2210 meeting of the Washington section of AAPT was the presentation of long overdue awards to  members Joel Schaaf and Tom Haff. 

Recently retired from Lower Columbia Community College, Distinguished Service Award winner Joel Schaaf has been a member of Washington State AAPT for forty years, of which he dutifully served as secretary-treasurer as well as the institutional memory of the organization for twenty-five. 

Issaquah High physics teacher Tom Haff received the Outstanding High School Teacher award in recognition of his 35 years of teaching and his service to AAPT, both locally and nationally.  Tom's students have presented research at national conferences and created a directory of physics teachers across the state.

Following the presentation of awards, attendees of the business meeting unanimously voted to rename the two awards after these first honorees so that the awards will become known as the Joel Schaaf Distinguished Service Award and the Tom Haff Outstanding High School Physics Teacher Award.


The Fall 2210 meeting of the Washington Section of AAPT was hosted on the beautiful campus of The Evergreen State College.  WA-AAPT President Krishna Chowdary of TESC began the meeting with a workshop on the use of video analysis in physics teaching. This was followed by a workshop on guided questions as physics teaching tools, led by Andrew Boudreaux of Western Washington University.  Both workshops were enthusiastically well received.

Appropriately enough, the first talk of the meeting was given by Issaquah High School's Tom Haff who had no idea that he would soon receive an award.  Tom spoke on the difficulties students have in understanding real data.  The theme of conceptual difficulties in physics education was continued through the next three presentations on Ratios and Rates by Brana Ponzer of WWU, followed by Microscopic and Macroscopic conceptions of Volume by Amy Robertson of the University of Washington, and Understanding of electric ground by Isaac Leinweber, also of the UW.

Following the break, Stamatis Vokos of Seattle Pacific University delivered the keynote address on "Who Prepares Physics Teachers? Findings and Recommendations of the Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics."

After lunch the meeting took a decidedly modern turn with talks on Stellar Nucleosynthesis by Robert Ruotsalainen, Visualizing the Lorentz Transformations by Michael Threapleton, and Relativistic Kinematics by Kira Burt of Eastern Washington University.  The presentations concluded with talks on a low budget SCALE-UP physics class by Bruce Palmquist of Central Washington University and an Open Source hybrid physics course by Sara Julin of Whatcom CC.

Stamatis Vokos of Seattle Pacific U and Mike Braunstein of Central Washington U discuss possible means of dealing with the shortage of high school physics teachers.

Following presentations, the event was concluded with the annual business meeting. Keith Clay resigned as section representative after serving for two years beyond the end of his three-year term. Robert Hobbs was unanimously elected as the new Section Representative. Krishna Chowdary moved to the office of Past-President with Mike Jackson of Central Washington University taking office as the current President. Andrew Boudreax of Western Washington University was nominated as President-Elect and elected unanimously. Tentatively, the Fall 2211 meeting will be hosted on the Central Washington University campus on Saturday, October 8, with science workshops for faculty, in-service, and pre-service teachers held on Friday, October 7.  The Fall 2212 meeting will be held on the campus of Western Washington University, possibly as a joint meeting with British Columbia AAPT.



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