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AAPT Washington


Issaquah HS LOGO

 WA-AAPT Fall 2014 Meeting

Friday, November 7, 2014      -     Room D106
Workshops.Tentative Schedule - Revisions may still occur.




5:00 - 6:00

Workshop 1: Getting the Most out of LabQuest II

Jared Fernandez

6:00 - 7:00

Workshop 2: Writing and Using Case Studies to Help Students Learn Physics

Bruce Palmquist

7:00 - 8:00

Dinner (Pizza?)

8:00 - 9:00

Workshop 3: Probeware: Alternate use of Sensors or "How many different sensors can measure the period of a pendulum?"

Tom Haff

Saturday, November 8, 2014      -     Room: Library/Meeting Space
Preliminary Schedule - Modest revisions may still occur.



8:00 - 8:30

Coffee, Registration and Welcome.   Tom Haff, Ballard High School (

8:30 - 8:50

The Physics of the "Elliptical" Pendulum: An Experimental and Modeling Investigation for Undergraduate Analytical Mechanics.   David Laman, Heritage University (

  • Abstract: We present data and modeling results obtained in undergraduate analytical mechanics for the periodic motion of an "elliptical" pendulum.
  • 8:50 - 9:10

    Capstone Projects at Bellevue college. An authentic research like experience for undergraduates.   Robert Hobbs, Bellevue College (

  • Abstract: An authentic research like experience for undergraduates at a Two Year College. For more than 30 years Bellevue College has required a term project at the end of its third quarter calculus based courses. Students acquire skills in self-directed laboratory activity. This talk will outline a few of the benefits and challenges of this assignment.
  • 9:10 - 9:30

    The LIGO Open Science Center: Data Analysis Opportunities for Students   Dale Ingram, LIGO Hanford Observatory (

  • Abstract: The LIGO Open Science Center (LOSC) provides access to a variety of LIGO data products as well as documentation, tutorials and online tools for finding and viewing data. Students and others can use the LOSC website to access data from LIGO's fifth science run. LOSC tutorials lead new users through the making of plots and the performing of numerical analyses. A gallery of previous projects offers ideas for new investigations. LOSC team members can correspond with users with additional ideas for studies. The LOSC can serve as a resource for independent projects undertaken by students who are looking for the type of experience shared by professional researchers who grapple with large data sets. Find the LOSC at .
  • 9:30 - 10:10

    Break and Poster Session Students contributors from various institutions.

    10:10 - 10:30

    Panel discussion: "What it meant to me.":

  • Abstract: Student poster participants discuss their experiences.
  • 10:30 - 10:50

    Mass-loss and Binary Inclusive Modeling of Recent Star Formation in Galaxies   Robert Ruotsalainen, Eastern Washington University (

  • Abstract: Color-magnitude diagrams are used to model the recent formation of stars in clusters and nearby galaxies. Stars in close binary systems evolve differently from single stars. Estimated rates of mass lost through stellar winds also affect models of stellar evolution and synthetic color-magnitude diagrams.
  • 10:50 - 11:10

    Harmonographs, Spirographs, and the Celestial Dance.   Erich Muhs, Ballard High School (

  • Abstract: Having been mesmerized by the movement of the planets since a 3rd grade science fair, Mr. Muhs will connect orbital mechanics to a famous drawing toy. He'll also demonstrate a homemade version of an all-ages toy from the last century, the harmonograph. Along the way, we'll discuss resonance relationships, spirals in sunflowers, and the Late Heavy Bombardment.
  • 11:10 - 11:40

    Business:WA-AAPT Business WA-AAPT Officers

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  • 11:45 - 1:00 PM


  •  Maps to local eateries provided.
  • 1:00 - 1:40

    Flipping the Physics Class   Stephanie Diemel, Shoreline Community College (

  • Abstract: Many of us have known for some time that the lecture-based model is a broken one, but that doesn't mean we naturally know what to replace it with. Simply "switching lecture and homework" is an oversimplified, one-dimensional view of flipping. When you choose to flip your classroom, you change the learning landscape in a nontrivial way for both yourself and your students.
    Can you flip your course with integrity? Yes. The keys to success are guidance and integration. Using your LMS to reinforce your presence outside of the classroom, you can truly become the "guide on the side." Using thoughtful integration of in-class and out-of-class activities, you can promote a deeper, more immersive learning environment for your students. The best part? Watching your students become more competent and confident learners as they realize that they are in charge of their own learning.
  • 1:40 - 2:00

    Aduinos in High School Physics   John Curie, High School Physics Teacher (Retired) (

  • Abstract:
  • 2:00 - 2:20

    Nuclear Energy in Hiding: Thorium   David Cornell, Emeritus, Principia College (

  • Abstract: Nuclear power for peacetime applications developed along the lines of uranium fission after World War II. It continued during the Cold war, when nuclear weapons were built in increasing numbers. Now the world suffers from a bad image of nuclear energy, owing to the results of the physics of uranium fission and reactor systems based upon it. Hidden in history is the development of thorium, which lost a war of words with uranium in 1970. This talk explores the promise of thorium as an alternate fuel, suggesting that the world should adopt it as a safer and sustainable fuel that can provide power cheaper than coal without adding to our carbon footprint. This subject is suggested for inclusion in physics courses that explore energy options, as well as proposing a topic for investigation for student research projects.
  • 2:20 - 2:40

    Investigating Student Responses to a Question about Electromagnetic Waves   Orlala Wentink and Ximena Cid, University of Washington (

  • Abstract: It is know that representations of electromagnetic plane waves (EMW) are difficult for students to understand. This talk will discuss one question that focuses on detecting EMW. The data presented will describe the use of one type of logic that causes confusion based on the given representation.
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  • Meeting Events 

    AS the schedule becomes available it will be posted here.  All times are tentative.