Vicphysics Teachers' Network Inc.
Dear *|FNAME|*,

Congratulations to Colin Hopkins on being awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in yesterday's Australia Day Honours list for his 'services to science education, particularly to physics'.

The Physics Teachers' Conference is on Friday, 19th February. It will be a virtual conference with many innovative opportunities including being able to catch up with colleagues, which is an important part of any conference.  We have produced a video to help you navigate the conference webpage.

Luna Park is taking bookings for the 'Physics Days at Luna Park'.  They are a week later than last year.


The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) continues to produce online support materials.  A selection of ones relevant to our course are described below.

Also, online events for both students and teachers are coming up shortly, some with on-going access which will be handy when the scheduled time is inconvenient.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers' Network will be on Wednesday, 3rd February at 5:30pm online.

Dr Barbara McKinnon (Pres), Sandor Kazi (Vice-Pres), Dan O'Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Deepa Jain (Treas)

Table of Contents
       1. 2021 Physics Teachers' Conference, Friday, 19th February - A Virtual Conference

       2. Order of Australia Medal (OAM) awarded to Colin Hopkins

       3. More resources for Teaching Physics from AAPT
  • Eclipse Science 
  • Sound: An interactive eBook
  • Explore Physics in the Palm of your Hand
  • Universal Constants
      4. Vicphysics subscriptions
   

      5. Events for Students
  •  COSPAR-K, A free STEM Event, 29th Jan - 2nd Feb
  • Inspiring Future Women in Science - Live Q&A, 8:00am, 12th February
  • Physics Days at Luna Park
       6. Events for Teachers
  • Big Ideas in Physics: A New Scientist Lecture Series
  • Climate Classrooms: Educational Resources for Teachers - An Online Workshop
  • Online Courses for early career teachers
       7. Physics News from the Web 
  • Nailing down a coherent interpretation of quantum mechanics
  • Fish save energy by swimming in schools
  • Acoustic metamaterial helps moths avoid being eaten by bats
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1. 2021 Physics Teachers' Conference, Friday, 19th February - A Virtual Conference.
Vicphysics and STAV are partnering with Monash Tech School to bring you an innovative virtual conference experience that will allow you to network, interact with sponsors, attend live workshops and keynotes and access a wealth of pre-recorded material.

Highlights include:

  • The highly topical keynote by climate modeller Professor Todd Lane will be followed by a small group discussion session in which you can exchange ideas and resources for teaching climate change in your classroom. 
  • The Chief Assessor, Andrew Hansen, has kindly agreed to pre-record a complete review of the 2020 exam, which can be accessed by participants in the week before the conference.  He will then lead a live session specifically focussed on your questions and the key issues arising from the paper.
  • 27 Live workshops across three sessions
  • 5 Pre-recorded presentations
  • Member Chat and Networking Lounge: Catch up and network with other participants
  • Discussion Forum: Engage in a dialogue around a presentation or a workshop
  • Check out the new resources of exhibitors in dedicated 'Meet and Greet's.
  • Access to all workshops and presentations and their resources up until 31st December.

Click here to preview the conference landing page and to access the program and registration.
We have also produced a video to help you navigate the conference website.

The live sessions are scheduled for Friday, February 19 and on-demand material will be available to view from Friday, February 12.

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2. Order of Australia Medal (OAM) awarded to Colin Hopkins
 Many teachers have benefited from Colin’s support, whether it be his talks or his resources. But most will not be aware of his long and varied contribution.
 
While at Balwyn High School in 1999, Colin began sharing his ideas and material with beginning physics teachers, both at his school and at regional schools.  This developed over time and by 2002 he was presenting a popular workshop title ‘Tips and Hints for Beginning Teachers’ at the annual Physics Teachers’ Conference.  A tradition that continues.  At these workshops he would also give each participant a CD of his own resources, copied at his own expense.
 
Some typical comments from conference participants over the years about his workshops are:
The best one I ever went to!!(ever).  Absolutely brilliant.  Invaluable for new teachers.  This hour alone was worth the whole day.  Excellent presentation, got great ideas to take back to school.  Inspirational!  Made it look easy, but most of all fun.
 
Eventually in 2009 this workshop was complemented by an annual in-service that Vicphysics organised at which Colin was the key speaker.
 
As a spin off from his workshops and the in-service, he developed a mailing list of hundreds of teachers which he maintains to this day.  He provides teaching notes and course summaries to the mailing list throughout the school year.
 
Also for the last several years he has offered a revision lecture program, mainly for regional Victoria at which he presents an engaging summary of the year’s course over a few hours. 
 
Another of Colin’s contribution is in the review of the curriculum and the exam papers.  Colin has been a respected source of insight when changes in the curriculum are being considered.  His long experience as a marker has also been invaluable when Vicphysics prepares its annual review of the exam paper.
 
Congratulations, Colin.


3. More Resources for Teaching Physics
a) The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) continues to provide Online Teaching Resources.  The latest one is called 'Eclipse Science'. 
'This interdisciplinary kit blends physics, geometry and astronomy as students build and use a physical model to explore eclipse events as seen from Earth. Learners will configure the model to mimic the perfect Earth/Moon alignment that takes place during a total solar eclipse and compare relative proportions of the size of the shadow produced by their model to a NASA video of the shadow crossing Earth during a real solar eclipse. Included in the digital kit are an open source Astronomy textbook, maths challenges and professional development video for teaching about orbits and eclipses.'
b) Sound: an Interactive eBook.
This book consists of 33 interactive simulations which require the reader to answer questions about the behavior of waves and sound in particular. There are also dozens of links to YouTube videos and other online resources that pertain to the topics being covered as well as suggestions for laboratory exercises and sound clips for understanding the fascinating subject of sound and music.

c) Explore Physics in the Palm of your Hand with MyTech mobile app
The MyTech mobile application turns a smartphone into a piece of data collection equipment.  It allows the analysis the motion of the device using raw data from the phone’s internal sensors as it falls, spins, or collides with springs. Each recording can be exported as a spreadsheet for more in-depth analysis.

d) Universal Constants - Foundations of Measurement for the Innovation Age
In this 'free to access' curriculum material produced by Jason Learning, students can follow the work of metrologists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (US) as they move from artifacts to measurements based on universal constants.

4. Vicphysics Subscriptions
To access the resources in the 'Teachers' section of the Vicphysics website you need to be a subscriber. There is an introductory free subscription, which expires at the end of February this year. After that date, there are paid subscriptions for individual teachers, schools (max of 4 teachers), retirees and pre-service teachers.  Check the home page for details.
 
5. Events for Students
a) COSPAR-K. A free Space STEM Event: Friday, 29th Jan - Tuesday, 2nd Feb, 2021
COSPAR-K is to be held in Sydney, but because of COVID-19, it is going virtual, allowing students from around Australia to participate.
The organisers' aim is to provide FREE access to everyone interested so they can "ask questions of their keynote speakers, spark ideas from presentations and take part in activities from wherever they are".

The website describes the aspects of the virtual program.

COSPAR-K TV will be delivered via the NSW Department of Education in collaboration with the STEM Industry Schools Partnerships program.

b) Inspiring Future Women in Science - Live Q&A., 8:00am Friday 12th February.
This 60 minute Perimeter Institute event is being held at 4pm Thursday, 11th Feb, Toronto time, which is 8:00am Friday, Melbourne time.
 A dynamic group of four women working in various fields of science will take students’ questions in a live online session. The program is designed for high school students who are interested in science and want to learn more about careers in related fields. Although this event is part of Perimeter Institute’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science activities, high school students of all genders are welcome to register to attend.

Links to stories and videos from the event in previous years going back to 2015 are also available at this address.
 

c) Physics Days at Luna Park in 2021

The dates for this year are Tuesday 9th March through to Friday, 12th March.
The cost is $27.90 per student with teachers free.
The Luna Park website is taking bookings.  There is also a link on the website if you wish to book a datalogger.
Check our website for worksheets etc.
 
6. Events for Teachers
a) Big Ideas in Physics: A New Scientist Lecture Series
  • Making Sense of Quantum Theory with Carlo Rovelli, 6pm, 1st April (UK time).  Prof Rovelli is the author of the popular books 'Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and 'Reality is not what it seems'.
  • How fast is the Universe growing? with Jo Dunkley, 6pm, 6th May. Prof Dunkley is a British astrophysicist and Professor of Physics at Princeton University.
  • Ten Keys to Reality with Frank Wilczek, 6pm, 28th January. Prof Wilczek won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics
  • Fourth speaker to be announced shortly.
The Rovelli talk will be held at 4:00am Melbourne time on the Friday morning, however a ticket purchase gives you on demand access to the lecture and the Q&A session for 12 months.
Individual tickets are £13 (early booking rate) and there is a 25% discount on the series ticket.

b) Climate Classrooms: Educational Resources for Teachers - An Online Workshop
The ARC Centre of Excellence on Climate Extremes is holding an online workshop on Friday, 5th February from 9:30am until 1:00pm.
The workshop will bring climate scientists and teachers together to develop teaching resources using information on the latest climate science. The aim is to make novel climate research accessible to secondary school teachers and enable them to use it in their teaching of the Australian curriculum.
Registrations close 27th January.


c) Online Courses for Early Career Teachers
 STEM Learning UK provides a range of courses for teachers, most of which are free for basic, time-limited access.  STEM Learning UK work in collaboration with the UK Government, employers, organisations and educational establishments to deliver positive STEM interactions for teachers and young people.
The courses for early career teachers are:
  • Managing Behaviour for Learning. Five week course .
  • Introducing Assessment for Learning. Three week course .
  • Teaching Practical Science: Physics (14 - 16 year old students).  Three week course.
  • Managing the practical classroom: Secondary Science (11 - 19 year old students) Three week course
Each course takes around three hours per week to complete and you do not need to be online at any specific time 7.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).

a) Nailing down a coherent interpretation of quantum mechanics
Despite its many successes, physicists are still struggling to nail down a coherent interpretation of quantum mechanics, as it best represents “reality”. Jim Baggott explores the arguments first put forth by John Bell three decades ago, and looks at theoretical and experimental evidence accumulated since.

b) Fish save energy by swimming in schools
Swimming in schools helps fish avoid predators, but it also allows them to conserve energy. This is the finding of researchers in Germany, China and Hungary who used fish-like robots to investigate how real fish might gain from the watery vortices that other fish generate as they swim. The phenomenon they observed is known as vortex phase matching, and the researchers say that understanding how it works could inspire the development of more efficient fish-like underwater vehicles.

c) Acoustic metamaterial helps moths avoid being eaten by bats
Natural acoustic metamaterials found on the wings of some moths could help the insects avoid being eaten by bats. By doing a combination of simulations and experiments, a team at Bristol University found that coupled vibrations of wing scales enable the moths to absorb ultrasound over a broad range of frequencies. The discovery could lead to the development of bio-inspired sound proofing materials with the potential to perform far better than current designs.

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