Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Back Home from AAPT

The great thing about conferences is that I always come back home with many, many ideas. The bad thing about conferences is that I never have a week of peace afterwards to figure out how to integrate all those new ideas into my lessons.

Some of the new-to-me ideas I picked up in Baltimore:
  1. Ways of doing Ben Franklin's electricity experiments in the classroom.
  2. A format for encouraging students to make predictions before a demo, along with demos for a bunch of the concepts I need to teach.
  3. A new approach to teaching basic thermodynamics, using winter clothing to study insulation.
  4. How to use comPADRE at least marginally effectively.
  5. The most effective lab groups may be mixed gender groups, but I still need to assign lab roles.
  6. Half a dozen really cool new demos that may or may not have places in my curriculum.

I also, of course, found any number of things I'd like to buy. I covet both Paul Hewitt's latest high school edition and Vernier's LabQuest. JHU Press had any number of fascinating books on display, but I restricted myself to a book of Mileva Maric's letters. Fortunately, most of the other publishers only had textbooks on display, and if I'm going to agitate for new textbooks, I'm not going to try to convince my boss to switch texts, just to update to the latest version.

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