Vicphysics Webinar – VicPhys News 5/T2/20

Vicphysics will hold a webinar on planning for the second half of 2020.  It is primarily designed for teachers taking either Unit 2 or Unit 4 for the first time, but given the curriculum changes it may be of interest to others.  It will be on Friday, 10th July.

Physics teacher groups around the world are still sharing resources, many of which will be on value beyond online learning.

You are also invited to participate in a survey on teacher well being and career decisions.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 10th June by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1.  Vicphysics Webinar: Friday, 10th July
  2. More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed 
  •  Optics4Kids
  • The Physics Front
  •  Science Journal – the Google App
  • Adobe Scanner app for students to convert photos to pdf (free)

3. Recent Achievements of two AIP Women in Physics speakers from previous years

  •  Dr Katie Mack (2017)
  •  Professor Tanya Monro (2007)

4. Teacher Survey on Teacher well-being and Career decisions

5. Events for Students and General Public

  •  UNSW Bragg Science Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries by 27th August, 2020
  • Big Science Competition – Revamped for online

6. Physics News from the Web

  •  Artificial eye has the potential to outperform human vision
  • Nano-optomechanical resonator detects low-frequency bacteria vibrations
  •  Kondo effect induces giant negative thermal expansion

 

1.  Vicphysics Webinar: Friday 10th July
Vicphysics will hold a webinar on planning for the second half of 2020.  It is primarily designed for teachers taking either Unit 2 or Unit 4 for the first time, but given the curriculum changes it may be of interest to others.  It will be on Friday, 10th July and run from 9:30am to 12:30pm.
The program will cover:

  • Teaching the adjusted Unit 4 and Unit 2 Areas of Study
  • Practical Activities and the Practical Investigation in Units 2 and 4
  • Possible assessment tasks and
  • Managing the Unit 2 Detailed Studies.

The program will be provided by Jane Coyle, Dr Barbara McKinnon and other members of the Vicphysics Committee.
To register, to raise any specific questions you would like addressed and for more details, you will need to go to our website.  If you wish to attend in person you can indicate that when you register, however space is limited.  The venue is Monash Tech School at the Clayton Campus of Monash University.

2.  More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed 
These resources plus all those listed in previous newsletters are now on a separate web page and there is a direct link to the page from our home page.

  •  Optics4Kids is a website of the American Optical Society which has a diverse range of resources for students of all ages.. It features simple experiments for students to do at home, an extensive video library and useful history and careers sections.  The optical illusions page is extensive with an impressive refraction effect at the bottom of the list.
  • The Physics Front is the teaching resources page for the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT).  There much classroom material on all physics topics and pitched at differnet levels.  There are also links to PhET simulations, Interactive Video Vignettes and Physlets.  The ‘For New Teachers’ section is also very thorough.
  •  Science Journal – The Google App.  This app enables students to record observations, etc.  There is a Teachers’ section, but it is largely promotional.
  •  Adobe Scanner app to convert photos to pdf (free).  The AAPT newsletter about online teaching resources also included this item.

The Online Learning webpage will be updated as new resources are identified.  If you find any, please pass the details to Vicphysics.

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3.  Recent Achievements of two AIP Women in Physics speakers from previous years
  • Dr Katie Mack (2017).  Dr Mack spoke on Dark Matter at the two Girls in Physics Breakfasts and at the Science Day in Bendigo. In 2018 she moved back to the US and is  Ass’t Professor at North Carolina University.  As announced in an earlier newsletter, Dr Mack gave an online lecture at the Perimeter Institute on 6th May, titled ‘The End of the Universe’. It is now available here.  Dr Mack  has also written a major article on this topic in New Scientist, which can be accessed here.
  •  Professor Tanya Monro (2007).  In 2007 Prof Monro was Director of the Centre of Expertise in Photonics at Adelaide University, undertaking ground breaking research in the use of optical fibres for sensing with applications in medicine, defence and optical data processing. Last year she was appointed Chief Defence Scientist at Defence Science and Technology (formerly DSTO).  Last week she gave a talk at the National Press Club on DST in which she describes their work in the areas of i) Space for global communication, position navigation and  geospatial intelligence, ii) Information warfare capabilities, iii) Quantum technologies, iv) Weapon technologies, v) Data analytics and vi) Remote Undersea Surveillance.  The program will be of interest to those thinking of a career in defence or technology in general.
4. Teacher Survey on Teacher well-being and Career decisions
The Melbourne Graduate School of Education is conducting a study looking at teacher well being and careers decisions with the aims of reducing teacher burnout and turnover.

If you are a teacher or ex-teacher, they would value your insights into what influenced your career decisions. It is an anonymous 15-20 minute online survey. The aggregated findings will be presented to the Department of Education and Training at the end of the year as part of the ‘Strengthening Teachers’ Initiative.

They hope to gain a strong representative sample of current and ex-teachers from all subject areas, experience levels and early-learning, primary or secondary levels. The link below can be shared with friends and colleagues who you think may have insights to share. All responses are greatly appreciated.

The Plain Language Statement and survey are accessible here or here.  Further information can be obtained by contacting Hugh Gundlach

5. Events for Students and General Public
a) UNSW Bragg Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries close 27th August.
The 2020 Theme is ‘The Big Ideas saving the Planet’.
Students write up to 800 words to describe some scientific research that has delivered a solution that the student believes could change the future for the planet.
This website has entry details, as well as FAQs, Teacher’s resources and Writing tips.

b) Big Science Competition – Revamped for online.
The Big Science Competition now has flexible options: i) student access from school or home, ii) extended competition window from 20th May to 5th June.
The Competition is for students in Years 7 to 10.  It is a ’50 minute multiple choice competition testing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, not just factual recall’.  The cost to participate online is $7.00 and $8.00 for a pen and paper test. Parents cannot register their children, it needs to be through the school.

6.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.
a) Artificial eye has the potential to outperform the human vision
An artificial device that closely mimics the structure and function of the human eye has been unveiled by Leilei Gu and colleagues at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The team based its design around a hemispherical arrangement of light-sensitive nanowires, which imitate photoreceptor cells in the human retina. Their device has the potential to produce images at higher resolutions than the human eye and could lead to significant new advances in robotics.

b) Nano-optomechanical resonator detects low-frequency bacteria vibrations
Researchers in Spain and France have measured the vibrations of individual bacteria by coupling them to a nanomechanical device with a similar resonance frequency. This new optomechanical spectrometry technique could offer an alternative to current methods of detecting and classifying bacteria and other biological particles.

Proteins, viruses and bacteria all vibrate at frequencies in the terahertz and gigahertz range. Their vibrations carry valuable information about their structure and mechanical properties, but efforts to study these using optical inelastic scattering techniques are extremely challenging because the bioparticles change shape and deform as they vibrate.

c) Kondo effect induces giant negative thermal expansion
Most metals expand when heated and contract when cooled. A few metals, however, do the opposite, exhibiting what’s known as negative thermal expansion (NTE). A team of researchers led by Ignace Jarrige and Daniel Mazzone of Brookhaven National Laboratory in the US has now found that in one such metal, yttrium-doped samarium sulphide (SmS), NTE is linked to a quantum many-body phenomenon called the Kondo effect. The work could make it possible to develop alloys in which positive and negative expansion cancel each other out, producing a composite material with a net-zero thermal expansion – a highly desirable trait for applications in aerospace and other areas of hi-tech manufacturing.

 

UPDAT: VCE Physics: VCAA Webinar

Webinar
VCAA will be held a one hour webinars in each of the VCE Study Designs.  They are part of VCAA’s Professional Learning program to support VCE Unit 3 and 4 teachers in implementing and delivering the adjusted Study Designs for 2020 and to answer questions related to the adjusted study design content and school-based assessment.
The Physics webinar was on Tuesday, 12th May from 4:15pm to 5:15pm.
You needed to register .  The video will be available afterwards, but only to those who have registered.

2020 VCE Physics Examinations
The VCAA examinations unit are working on examinations for 2020. Further advice will be provided on the VCAA website and through a Notice to Schools when it becomes available.
Note: The NH exam has been postponed.  These students will now sit the same exam as other physics students at the end of the year.

12 month extension of Accreditation Period
To support teachers to focus on the continuity of learning in their schools, the board of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and the CEO of the Victorian Regulations and Qualifications Authority have approved a 12 month extension to the accreditation periods for all accredited VCE study designs.
All accredited VCE study designs will be taught again unchanged in 2021. The adjusted Study Designs for 2020 are not applicable in 2021.
For Physics, the study design’s accreditation period currently expires on 31 December 2021. This accreditation period has now been extended by 12 months and the study design will now expire on 31 December 2022.
This study was under review in 2020. This review process will continue into 2021 and the newly accredited study design will be delivered by schools in 2023 (rather than 2022).

More resources for Online Teaching and Learning
i) Living Physics Portal is an online resource of curriculum material for introductory physics course for life sciences.  It hopes to make physics classes more relevant for life science students.  The website is very well structured, there is a section for each area of physics, e.g. Mechanics, in each section several headings ( e.g. Newton’s 3rd Law) and for each heading a few sub-headings (e.g. Action/Reaction) and finally some resources which are described in detail and can be downloaded.  You need to register and there is an expectation that at some stage in the future you will contribute some material.
ii) Smart Phones on the Rise. An article on apps that allow experiments to be done at home.  The article mentions Phyphox which was on the last edition of this newsletter.  It had a 30% increase in downloads in the second half of March. This article also describes Physics Toolbox, which has had a similar increase.
iii) From Perimeter Institute a free poster featuring physicists’ reflections on past teachers who had an impact.

Our webpage for Online Learning is regularly updated, so please check it from time to time.

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 13th May online, starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Adjusted Study Design is now available. Vicphys News 3/T2/20

The Adjusted Study Design for 2020 is now available.  Vicphysics has prepared a summary of the changes and compiled a list of past paper questions that students can skip when revising for the 2020 end of year exam.

There is likely to be a VCAA presentation on the changes within the week and Vicphysics is planning to hold a Q&A session for teachers with Maria James, the Science Curriculum Manager, possibly in the following week. More details in the next newsletter.

There are also some more resources to help with online teaching and learning.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 13th May by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1.  Adjusted Study Design is now available
  2. More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed 
  • FARLabs: Freely Accessible Remote Laboratories
  •  A Procedure for conducting Assessment Tasks Online

3. Events for Students and General Public

  •  The End of Everything (Astronomically speaking) – A Conversation with Katie Mack, 9:00am 7th May, On-Line
  • UNSW Bragg Science Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries by 27th August, 2020
  • Big Science Competition – Revamped for online

4. Physics News from the Web

  •  For Concussion, the Eyes are the Window to the Brain
  • The Diamond Quantum Revolution
  •  COVID-19 symptoms detected from a safe distance using infrared light and microwaves

1.  Adjusted Study Design is now available.
VCAA has released the Study Design that is to apply for the remainder of 2020.  Some dot points in Areas of Study 1 and 2 in Unit 4 have been deleted and the Practical Investigation has been substantially modified.  Teachers should check out the document either on the VCAA website or on our Vicphysics website, where there are additional resources.

Vicphysics has produced a summary of the changes to the study design that will apply in 2020.  We have also compiled a spreadsheet of the past paper questions from the November exam papers and the NH exam papers for the years 2017 – 2019 that students can skip when using these papers for revision. Core sections of exam papers prior to 2017 can be used unchanged.  The summary and the spreadsheet are on our ‘online learning’ webpage.

Vicphysics is also preparing a teaching schedule for Unit 4, based on exams starting in early December and a delayed start to teaching Unit 4 to give more time to consolidate Unit 3 and also hold mid year exams.

Vicphysics is organising a Q&A session for teachers with Maria James.  It will be held in a week or so. Details will be in the next newsletter.

2.  More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed 
These resources plus all those listed in previous newsletters are now on a separate web page and there is a direct link to the page from our home page.

  •  FARLabs: Freely Accessible Remote Laboratories:  FARLabs presents a technological solution to the challenge of providing engaging, cost-effective, practical experiments to secondary schools across the country. The remote-access laboratory allows secondary educators and students to operate science equipment (such as radioactive sources and detectors) hosted at La Trobe University, through their web browser.  Each experiment contains downloadable student and teacher notes, worksheets, quizzes, videos and examples of the impact that science has on society. Besides providing informative and engaging content, the materials provide pathways for students to understand the process of scientific research.

    Teachers can normally book time for their students to do an experiment as part of normal class time. However, with students currently learning from home, there is more flexibility, but access time still needs to be booked.  There are experiments on Radioactivity, and Photoelectric Effect, and Interference and Diffraction.  There are also a link on our Vicphysics website .

    FARLabs is online, and it is free.  Teachers need to register before they can book a time.

  • A Procedure for Conducting Assessment Tasks Online
    Our Online Learning webpage has a one page document describing the method used by Albert Park College to conduct assessment tasks online. The method is consistent with VCAA Guidelines in authentication.

The Online Learning webpage will be updated as new resources are identified.  If you find any, please pass the details to Vicphysics.

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3. Events for Students and General Public
a) A Conversation with Katie Mack, 9:00am, 7th May Online
The Perimeter Institute is holding a live webcast in the evening, Toronto time.  With local students currently working from home, they should be able to arrange their work schedule to catch the webcast at 9:00am in the morning.
Not only is Katie a theoretical cosmologist, science communicator, and self-described “connoisseur of cosmic catastrophes,” she is also a former AIP Women in Physics lecturer.  Katie spoke on Dark Matter at the two Girls in Physics Breakfasts we held in 2018.
She will chat about her favourite subject: the end of the universe. In her upcoming talk, she will give viewers a sneak peek at her soon-to-be-released book ‘The End of Everything (Astronomically speaking) ‘

b) UNSW Bragg Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries close 27th August.
The 2020 Theme is ‘The Big Ideas saving the Planet’.
Students write up to 800 words to describe some scientific research that has delivered a solution that the student believes could change the future for the planet.
This website has entry details, as well as FAQs, Teacher’s resources and Writing tips.

c) Big Science Competition – Revamped for online.
The Big Science Competition now has flexible options: i) student access from school or home, ii) extended competition window from 20th May to 5th June.
The Competition is for students in Years 7 to 10.  It is a ’50 minute multiple choice competition testing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, not just factual recall’.  The cost to participate online is $7.00 and $8.00 for a pen and paper test. Parents cannot register their children, it needs to be through the school.

4.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.
a) For Concussion, the Eyes are the Window to the Brain

The way the eye moves in the moments after a head impact serves as a reliable proxy for the acceleration experienced by the brain, reports a research team in the US. The researchers observed the effect in a physical head phantom and a human volunteer, and say that the measurement could one day be made using “smart” contact lenses. Routine eye-motion measurements in athletes could allow sports-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) to be detected at the side-line.
b) The Diamond Quantum Revolution
Diamond is more than just a pretty gem – it has many attractive properties that stretch far beyond its aesthetic appeal.  This article explains how this special form of carbon now has many practical quantum applications too.  It nicely complements the keynote address at this year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference.

c) COVID-19 symptoms detected from a safe distance using infrared light and microwaves
A system that checks from a safe distance whether someone is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 has been developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation in Stuttgart, Germany. The team’s “access checker” combines infrared and microwave.

One part of the access checker scans a person’s body temperature by measuring infrared radiation emitted by their skin. This is done to detect fever, which is a symptom of COVID-19.  The device also checks for increased heart and breathing rates associated with the disease. This is done using a micro-Doppler radar system that bounces microwaves off the subject to detect body motions associated with breathing and blood flow.

Copyright © 2020 Vicphysics Teachers’ Network Inc., All rights reserved.

US & UK resources; Events for students. VicPhys News 2/T2/20

There are now more resources to support students and teachers at the challenging time – an extensive set from the American Association of Physics Teachers and another from the UK group ‘STEM Learning’.

There are also three events for students.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 13th May by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1.  More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed (AAPT)
  2.  Home Learning Resources and Home Teaching Resources (STEM Learning)
  3.  PhyPhox: Physical Phone Experiments
  4. Events for Students and General Public
  •  The End of Everything (Astronomically speaking) – A Conversation with Katie Mack, 9:00am 7th May, On-Line
  • UNSW Bragg Science Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries by 27th August, 2020
  • Big Science Competition – Revamped for online

5. Physics News from the Web (Articles from The Physics Teacher)

  •  Is Modern Cosmology in crisis?
  • USB powered experiments
  • Free Fall Demonstrations in the High School laboratory
  • Extending the role of analogies in the teaching of physics
  • From Helicopter to Lighthouse: My teaching aligns with my parenting
  • Momentum as a maintaining agency: A different approach to teaching Force.

1.  More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed 
The last few newsletters had information on a variety of ways for schools and teachers to manage the learning of their students.  Ideas keep coming in. They are all now on a separate web page and there is a direct link to the page from our home page.

Resources added to the webpage since the last newsletter are:

  •  The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) is making freely available a collection of specialised articles that focus on remote learning. These articles highlight the use of smartphones for lab experiments (11 articles from TPT) as well as other activities (6 from TPT, 16 from AJP) that can be adapted for use by students at home. The articles have been made free to read, download and share for a limited time.

This webpage will be updated as new resources are identified.  If you find any, please pass the details to Vicphysics.

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2Home Learning Resources and Home Teaching Resources
The authoritative UK website ‘STEM Learning’ has compiled two sets of materials, one on Home Learning to support families and one on Home Teaching to support teachers.
The Home Learning webpage has sections on i) curriculum resources from Prep to Senior years, with about 8 Senior Physics activities, ii) Guidance for families and iii) Educational family activities.
The Home Teaching webpage has sections on i) Curriculum resources on 17 physics topics, with each topic having several activities, ii) ‘Activities for in-school delivery’ has articles assessing the research on the approaches schools adopt to support students’ learning while schools are closed due to COVID-19.

3.PhyPhox – Physical Phone Experiments
A few years ago this newsletter had an item about PhyPhox.  Paul Fielding has reminded us that it will be a useful tool, while students are learning from home.
PhyPhox is a website dedicated to experiments that can be done with a mobile phone, with many being free. The app can be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store.  PhyPhox is an initiative of Aachen University in Germany, the website has an English version.  There are monthly newsletters going back to 2016 as well as a Forum that has many contributions on experiments, etc4. Events for Students and General Public
a) A Conversation with Katie Mack, 9:00am, 7th May Online
The Perimeter Institute is holding a live webcast in the evening, Toronto time.  With local students currently working from home, they should be able to arrange their work schedule to catch the webcast at 9:00am in the morning.
Not only is Katie a theoretical cosmologist, science communicator, and self-described “connoisseur of cosmic catastrophes,” she is also a former AIP Women in Physics lecturer.  Katie spoke on Dark Matter at the two Girls in Physics Breakfasts we held in 2018.
She will chat about her favourite subject: the end of the universe. In her upcoming talk, she will give viewers a sneak peek at her soon-to-be-released book ‘The End of Everything (Astronomically speaking) ‘

b) UNSW Bragg Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries close 27th August.
The 2020 Theme is ‘The Big Ideas saving the Planet’.
Students write up to 800 words to describe some scientific research that has delivered a solution that the student believes could change the future for the planet.
This website has entry details, as well as FAQs, Teacher’s resources and Writing tips.

c) Big Science Competition – Revamped for online.
The Big Science Competition now has flexible options: i) student access from school or home, ii) extended competition window from 20th May to 5th June.
The Competition is for students in Years 7 to 10.  It is a ’50 minute multiple choice competition testing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, not just factual recall’.  The cost to participate online is $7.00 and $8.00 for a pen and paper test. Parents cannot register their children, it needs to be through the school.

5.   Physics from the Web
Some items selected from The Physics Teacher.  The journal is free due to the COVID-19 crisis. To register click here.  Note this offer is currently available until the end of April.
Vol 58, Issue 4, April 2020

  • Is Modern Cosmology in crisis?
  • USB powered experiments

Vol 58, Issue 1, January 2020

  • ‘Free Fall Demonstrations’ in the High School Laboratory
  • Extending the role of Analogies in the Teaching of Physics
  • From Helicopter to Lighthouse: My teaching aligns with my parenting

Vol 57, Issue 6, September 2019

  • Momentum as a maintaining agency: A different approach to teaching Force

More Resources for Online & Zoom Forum. Vicphys News 1/T2/20

Welcome back for Term 2.  This promises to be a challenging, but hopefully rewarding term as we try out new ways of working.  To help, Vicphysics is setting up a Zoom Forum next week for you to share your experiences and successes.

The last two newsletters had information and resources on a variety of ways for schools and teachers to manage the learning of their students when schools are closed.  Educational authorities around the world are supporting their teachers and commercial groups are removing paywalls, at least temporarily.  This newsletter has additional resources that have come to our attention as well as some of our own.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 22nd April by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to come, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1.  More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed
  2. Zoom Forum for VCE Physics
  3. Full Access to The Physics Teacher Journal until 30th April
  4.  Tutor sought
  5. Physics News from the Web
  •   Silicon-based light emitter has been created
  •   Nanoscale structures give some butterflies ‘ultra-black’ wings
  •   Gamma rays and gravitational lensing provide hints of dark matter

1.  More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed 
The last two newsletters had information on a variety of ways for schools and teachers to manage the learning of their students.  Educational associations and commercial groups around the world continue to support teachers.
All these ideas are now on a separate web page and there is a direct link to the page from our home page.

Resources added to the webpage since the last newsletter are:

  • Strategies on Practical Activities at home (Vicphysics).  An Extract:
    •  Experiments that can be done at home with household equipment and measuring instruments, e.g. mass: kitchen and bathroom scales, time: watches, mobile phones, length: tape measure, ruler, temperature: room and meat thermometers.  Simple motion experiments can be analysed with Tracker. Mobile phone apps are increasingly versatile.
    •  Record yourself on video doing the experiment with students extracting data from instruments displayed in the video or from measurements that you read out as they are being taken.  The students then complete their report on the experiment.
    •  Use dummy data (individualised) or from student reports from previous years for the students to analyse.
    •  Experimental planning: Students describe their experimental design, what data they would collect the measuring instruments they would use and provide a sample analysis of the data.
    •  Computer simulations
  •  List of Practical Activities by Area of Study with suggested adaptations or alternatives for use at Home (Vicphysics)
  • Perimeter Institute (PI): Adapting PI resources for Online Classrooms. PI has an extensive range of activities from primary to upper secondary, including a dozen on physics.  The webpage provides for each activity details on how it can be adapted for the online classroom.
  • Open Stax.  Open Stax is a US non-profit educational initiative.  They publish high-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks that are free online and low cost in print.  They have also developed low-cost, research-based courseware.
    They have courses in College Physics, High School Physics and AP Physics as well as Astronomy and University Physics.  The first three courses have similar content to each other, which seems comparable to VCE Physics.
    Each course offers access to a text in various forms, online, as an app or as a pdf.  There are also Instructor resources and Student resources, which sometimes include short videos, assignments and guides. The Astronomy course in its Student resources section has a list of videos with their URLs, grouped by content areas.  The list is 25 pages long.
  • Adventures of Bungee Bear.  A Tracker based activity as an example of what students can do at home.  Prepared by Dr Barbara McKinnon, Kew High School.

This webpage will be updated as new resources are identified.  If you find any, please pass the details to Vicphysics.

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2. Zoom ‘Forum’ for VCE Physics
Vicphysics will host a forum on Zoom on Wednesday, 22nd April from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. If you wish to share your experiences of recent times along with what you have learned, please join the forum.
RSVPVicphysics Please include a topic you would like to discuss during the meeting if you have one.
Note: All participants must select ‘video’ for the meeting.
During the Meeting: 

  • Please use ‘mute’ when you are not talking to eliminate background noise.
  • At the bottom of your screen please click on the ‘Participants’ button to open the menu which has a ‘raise your hand’ option
  • Use the ‘raise hand’ function if you would like to ask a question or make a comment and the facilitator will call on you.

On the morning of the meeting, we will send out the instructions on how to access the ZOOM meeting to anyone who has RSVP’d. We hope this is an opprtunity for a fruitful exchange.

3. Free full text access to The Physics Teacher until 30th April
To assist teachers and researchers during the COVID-19 crisis, The American Institute of Physics (AIP) is offering free full-text access to all its publications including The Physics Teacher until 30th April.  To gain access you need to create an account, then visit your profile page to activate your free access.  Once in select the menu at top left and look through the list of publications for The Physics Teacher, then select it.
The Physics Teacher is a monthly journal with editions going back to 1963.  Each edition has several articles on physics phenomena and teaching strategies as well as teaching figures by Paul Hewitt, a batch of Fermi questions, Pracs with mobile phones and IT in general as well as useful websites.
The March 2020 has articles on i) Human Respiration as a Heat Engine, ii) Rainbows: a graphical approach and  iii) Systematic errors in video analysis.
There is an article on ‘Teaching classical mechanics with a smart phone’ in Vol 51, 376 (2013) by Joel Chevrier.
4.  Tutor sought
A parent is seeking a tutor for the child doing Year 12 Physics.  They live in the Wantirna area.  If you are interested, please contact Vicphysics to be put in touch with them.

5.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

a) Silicon-based Light emitter has been created
A light-emitting silicon-based material with a direct band gap has been created in the lab, 50 years after its electronic properties were first predicted. With further work, light-emitting silicon-based devices could be used to create low-cost components for optical communications, computing, solar energy and spectroscopy.

Silicon is the wonder material of electronics. It is cheap and plentiful and can be fabricated into ever smaller transistors that can be packed onto chips at increasing densities. But silicon has a fatal flaw when it comes to being used as a light source or a solar cell. The semiconductor has an “indirect” electronic band gap, which means that electronic transitions between the material’s valence and conduction bands involve vibrations in the crystal lattice. As a result, it is very unlikely that an excited electron in the conduction band of silicon will decay to the valence band by emitting light. Conversely, the absorption of light by silicon does not tend to excite valence electrons into the conduction band – a requirement of a solar cell.
In contrast, electronic transitions in direct band gap semiconductors such as Gallium Arsenide do not involve lattice vibrations, so these materials emit copious amounts of light when electrons are excited – and are very good at converting light into electricity.

b) Nanoscale structures give some butterflies ‘ultra-black’ wings
Many male butterflies have exceptionally black wings with optical properties that have long-puzzled scientists. Now researchers in the US found that the wings of at least 10 species have nanoscale structures that increase light absorption and scattering that create the “ultra-black” appearance. These structures may have evolved to enhance the contrast of colour patches used in courtship displays, according to the researchers. Understanding why the wings are so dark could lead to the development of ultra-black synthetic materials.

c) Gamma rays and gravitational lensing provide hints of dark matter
A comparison of data from gravitational lensing and gamma-ray observations has revealed that regions of the sky with greater concentrations of matter emit more gamma rays. The researchers who carried out the work conclude that much of the correlation is likely due to the action of supermassive black holes, but they say that some of the emission may be due to dark matter.

More Resources for when schools close. VicPhys News 6/T1/20

The last newsletter had information and resources on a variety of ways for schools and teachers to manage the learning of their students if schools close.  Educational authorities around the world are supporting their teachers.  This newsletter has additional resources that have come to our attention.

Please note: The  Girls in Physics Breakfasts have been postponed and the Beginning Physics Teachers’ In-Service  that was to be held next Tuesday, 31st March has been cancelled.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 22nd April at St Columba’s College, Essendon, starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to come, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1.  More Resources on Managing Learning if Schools shut
    • Resources from the Physics Education Group (PEG) of the Australian Institute of Physics
    •  UNESCO Coronavirus School Closures – Solutions
    •   Positive Physics
    •   Interactive Video Vignettes
    •   Physics at Home
    •   Mathscope Coronavirus offer
  2. Events for Students and General Public
  •  Girls in Physics Breakfasts in 2020  Postponed 
  •  VCE Lectures for Students, 6:00pm Thursdays, University of Melbourne
  • Solar Cell Challenge: An experimental challenge for students from Years 7 – 12
  •  Girls in Physics Day, Friday, 17th July, University of Melbourne

3. Events for Teachers

  • Vicphysics Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service, Tuesday, 31st March, Kew High School Cancelled

4. Physics News from the Web

  •   COVID-19 How physics is helping the fight against the pandemic
  •  Transverse arch puts a spring in your step, biomechanics study reveals.
  •   Turning water into Watts

1.  More Resources on Managing Learning if Schools shut
The last newsletter had information on a variety of ways for schools and teachers to manage the learning of their students.  Educational authorities around the world are supporting their teachers.
The resources mentioned in the last newsletter plus the ones described below are all available from our webpage: Useful Websites and Youtube videos.  This webpage will be updated as new resources are identified.  If you find any, please pass the details to Vicphysics.  The webpage also has links to several websites constructed by local teachers to support students.

a) Resources from the Physics Education Group (PEG) of the Australian Institute of Physics
PEG is a group of tertiary physics educators who share ideas on course design.  They have circulated to members an eight page list of resources covering:

  • General advice on teaching online
  • Making videos
  • Useful Zoom features
  • Alternatives to Zoom
  • Interactive Online Activities (most of which will be relevant to secondary physics, with some familiar to physics teachers)
  • Simulations
  • Full online courses
  • Using Pre-made videos
  • Alternatives for Pracs
  • Experiments students can do at home
  • Effective Quiz practices
  • Community shared resources

b) UNESCO Coronavirus School Closures – Solutions
This UNESCO website has links and descriptions for the following resources to assist schools:

  • 13 Digital learning management systems, including Blackboard and Edmodo,
  • 6 Systems purpose-built for mobile phones,
  • 10 Systems with strong offline functionality including Coursera and edX,
  • 13 Self-directed learning content including Youtube channels and Khan Academy,
  • 6 Collaboration platforms that support live-video communication including Skype and Zoom and
  • 7 Tools to create digital learning content.

c) Positive Physics
Positive Physics is an award-winning online problem bank.  It has announced that it will provide FREE subscriptions to all teachers and students until the end of July to aid schools with remote learning. Site Features include: i) unique building block method for less intimidation, ii) instant feedback, iii) random number generator to prevent copying, iv) automatic grading, v) differentiation & customization (new!), vi) alignment to fundamentals of AP Physics 1 (US Curriculum).

d) Interactive Video Vignettes
Interactive Video Vignettes (IVVs) are designed as ungraded web-based assignments for introductory physics students. They combine the convenience of online video coupled with video analysis as well as the interactivity of an individual tutorial. Each online vignette addresses a learning difficulty. Most of them take a student about 10 minutes or less to complete. Nine interactive Video Vignettes (IVVs) are available for free on Motion and Electrostatics.

e) Physics at Home
A two page document produced by UK teachers that was downloaded from a thread on ‘Supporting schools during COVID-19’ in the forum ‘talkphysics.org‘ . It has a large number of links on Forces, Static and current electricity, Magnetism and electromagnetism, Sound, Light, Matter, Energy and Space Physics. The activities have a middle level flavour.

f) Mathscope Coronavirus offer
Mathspace have announced they will offer their product for schools that have closed.

2.  Events for Students and General Public

aGirls in Physics Breakfasts for 2020 Postponed

The remaining Girls in Physics Breakfast for 2020 have been postponed.  It is hoped to re-schedule them in Term 3.
At one of the breakfasts held two weeks ago, some of the women who were to share a table with the students had to withdraw as the company they work for, had just placed a restriction on attending gatherings > 50. The possibility of the same thing occurring with future guests, along with the uncertainty of schools being closed at the time of a breakfast and the risk of parental reluctance to permit their daughters to attend a breakfast, meant the future events 
had to be postponed.

bVCE Lectures for Students, 6:00pm, Thursdays, University of Melbourne
The lectures are on fortnightly through to the end of Term 3.  They are preceded at 5:30pm with the offer of snacks and drink.  The lectures finish at 7:00pm  They are held in the Hercus Theatre in the Physics Dept at the University of Melbourne.  Teachers and parents are welcome.
i) 26th March: Glow in the dark – Using fluorescence to see DNA in a living cell : Lecturer: Dr Liz Hinde. Dr Hinde explores how we are using fluorescence microscopy methods to visualise how molecules move through the 3D DNA network of a living cell.  To register, click here.
i) 23rd April: The Search for Dark Matter.  Lecturer: Associate Professor Philip Urquijo.  Prof Urquijo take you through the mysteries of dark matter and what we are doing in Australia to find out what it is. To register, click here.
For details of the full program and also whether these events will proceed, please click here.

c) Solar Cell Challenge: An experimental challenge for Students from Years 7 – 12
The ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science is offering two challenges, one for Years 7 – 9 and one for Years 10 – 12.   ‘Students are doing hands-on science and converting light into electricity!  This challenge gets the students thinking creatively around manipulating experimental variables, producing a scientific product and communicating process and findings through video’.
The Years 7 – 9 challenge offers some free equipment and so should be checked out.
In the Years 10 – 12 challenge, students in teams of 2 – 3 create their own solar cell.  S
tudents will need to ‘apply a range of techniques and create a method to enhance an existing or new simple solar cell.  Students record their journey and show their scientific product in action via 2 – 3 min video, which is judged’.
As the product produced in this Challenge is open, equipment is not provided to teams.  Therefore, there is no cost per team to enter.  However, teams/schools must supply and purchase their own equipment, the total cost of which should come to no less than $50 per team.
Schools can enter up to 6 teams.

Time line:

  • Registrations close       3 April
  • Teacher resources and judging criteria released   6 April 
  • Resource package send out      6 April (week of) 
  • Submissions open       14 April 
  • Submissions close       26 June 
  • Winners announced      Late July

Prizes   For the overall winning teams, their schools will receive a starting grant to initiate a new and/or enhance an existing energy sustainability initiative.  The schools will also receive a researcher visitor to speak to a group of students and/or at an assembly.   Individual student winners will receive a prize pack of goodies depending on the category!

d) Girls in Physics Day, Friday 17th July, University of Melbourne
F
urther information regarding program and registration will be sent out in the coming months. Please feel free to register your interest by email to the University of Melbourne.

Return to top

3.  Events for Teachers

a) Beginning Physics Teacher In-Service on Tues, 31st March at Kew High School. Cancelled
Click here for the resources that would have been provided to participants.

Return to top

4.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

a) COVID-19 How physics is helping the fight against the pandemic
An article on the developing X-ray crystallography technologies to determine the structure of viruses.

b) Transverse arch puts a spring in your step, biomechanics study reveals.
The stiffness of the human foot is strongly influenced by an arch that spans its width, a new study suggests.  Humans are unique among primates because the inherent stiffness of our feet enables us to efficiently push off the ground when walking and running. The median longitudinal arch (MLA), which runs from the heel to the ball of the foot, is thought to play a critical role in this stiffness.

c) Turning water into Watts
Water covers about 70% of the planet, and much of it, driven by the Sun, is in constant motion. Surface swells ferry energy from one place to another, while tides and currents, as reliable as the sunrise, move vast volumes of water in very short times. The ocean is essentially a natural engine, converting solar energy into mechanical energy. Hardly surprising, then, that for at least 200 years, visionaries have dreamt of harnessing that constant, reliable motion and using it to power the world.

Managing Learning if schools shut – VicPhys News 5/T1/20

The coronavirus is beginning to impact schools.  This newsletter has information on a variety of ways for schools and teachers to manage the learning of their students if their school is closed.

The presence of the virus also means that the remaining Girls in Physics Breakfasts will be postponed, but the Beginning Physics Teachers’ In-Service on Tuesday, 31st March will still go ahead as the expected numbers
are within acceptable limits.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 22nd April at St Columba’s College, Essendon, starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to come, please email Vicphysics

Table of Contents

  1.  Managing Learning if Schools shut
  2. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
  3. Events for Students and General Public
  •  Girls in Physics Breakfasts in 2020  Postponed 
  •  VCE Lectures for Students, 6:00pm Thursdays, University of Melbourne
  • Solar Cell Challenge: An experimental challenge for students from Years 7 – 12
  •  Girls in Physics Day, Friday, 17th July, University of Melbourne

4. Events for Teachers

  • Vicphysics Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service, Tuesday, 31st March, Kew High School
  • Road to Zero Teacher In-Service 4:30pm, 17th March, Melbourne Museum

5. Physics News from the Web

  •  CERN Physicists close in on antimatter-matter symmetry
  •   The secret to flying carbon-free
  •   Double Slits with Single Atoms

1.  Managing Learning if Schools shut
While the strategies of minimising student movement in hallways between classes and the staggering of recess and lunchtime may be effective for ‘social distancing’, schools and teachers are beginning to plan for the possibility that their school may be closed for a short time.
There are a few strategies to support your students to continue their learning.

  1. In-house online support
  2. Install / construct your own in house online support
  3. Use existing online courses
  4. Useful Websites and Youtube videos – Vicphysics Webpage.

a) In-house online support
Some schools and teachers have developed their own online support to complement the classroom experience.  This could be enhanced if the school is closed for an extended time.

b) Install / Construct your own in-house support
Last week the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) sent an email to all its members with a list of resources detailing possible strategies for adapting to this new situation.  While not all are specifically about physics, there is useful advice on supporting students at this difficult time.  Also while many are for university colleges, there is applicability to a school setting.

i) The article: ‘So you want to temporarily teach Online’
This article from ‘Inside Higher Ed’ provides strategies and advice on:

  • Basic student needs
  • Basic instructor needs
  • Student to student communication
  • Interactive learning
  • Prepare your own space

ii) A spreadsheet with links to remote teaching resources from more than 130 colleges and universities in the US.
Most entries have a brief description, many have an administrative focus, rather than a disciplinary emphasis, but there should be some of interest that show what is possible.  For example, Francesco Valotto has an e-learning platform for primary schools, Bryant University has a free self-paced module to help those teaching on-line for the first time., Florida State has ‘Basics for quickly getting a course on line’.

Several links address the issue of ‘Academic Continuity’ and provide advice and suggestions.  Some have established continuity procedures because they in the ‘hurricane belt’.

iii) Kudu
Online course provider, Kudu, is offering free services to educators who may need to switch from in-person classes to online classes, but it may be only for US or for universities.  Under ‘View Available Subjects’ it has a few physics courses on astronomy and physics for Life Sciences and Physics for Scientists and Engineers, which may be of value to VCE students.

c) Use existing online coursesThere are several courses offered by university connected organisations such as edX and the Open University in the UK.  Many of these are free and pitched at pre-tertiary level.  The courses can be substantial in time commitment, ranging from 4 hour to 40 hours, but the whole course does not need to be completed.  The courses are well managed, have quality educational material and usually involve assignments, etc.  So far over a dozen have been identified.  Too many to list here, so the list plus the rest of this section can be accessed here.

d) Useful Websites and Youtube Videos – Vicphysics
Our Vicphysics website has a webpage titled ‘Useful Websites and Youtube videos’ that has numerous resources that can be productively used by students while at home.  The link is here .

2. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
Last year Vicphysics Teachers’ Network set up a Job Ads page on our website to assist schools in finding a physics teacher, either to be a LSL replacement or to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.

  • There is one Government schools seeking a physics teacher, Mount Erin Secondary College.

This webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service.

3.  Events for Students and General Public

aGirls in Physics Breakfasts for 2020 Postponed

The remaining Girls in Physics Breakfast for 2020 have been postponed.  It is hoped to re-schedule them in Term 3.
At one of the breakfasts held last week, some of the women who were to share a table with the students had to withdraw as the company they work for, had just placed a restriction on attending gatherings > 50. The possibility of the same thing occurring with future guests, along with the uncertainty of schools being closed at the time of a breakfast and the risk of parental reluctance to permit their daughters to attend a breakfast, meant the future events had to be postponed.
Those who have already booked will receive their payments back in a day or so.

bVCE Lectures for Students, 6:00pm, Thursdays, University of Melbourne
The lectures are on fortnightly through to the end of Term 3.  They are preceded at 5:30pm with the offer of snacks and drink.  The lectures finish at 7:00pm  They are held in the Hercus Theatre in the Physics Dept at the University of Melbourne.  Teachers and parents are welcome.
i) 26th March: Glow in the dark – Using fluorescence to see DNA in a living cell : Lecturer: Dr Liz Hinde. Dr Hinde explores how we are using fluorescence microscopy methods to visualise how molecules move through the 3D DNA network of a living cell.  To register, click here.
i) 23rd April: The Search for Dark Matter.  Lecturer: Associate Professor Philip Urquijo.  Prof Urquijo take you through the mysteries of dark matter and what we are doing in Australia to find out what it is. To register, click here.
For details of the full program and also whether these events will proceed, please click here.

c) Solar Cell Challenge: An experimental challenge for Students from Years 7 – 12
The ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science is offering two challenges, one for Years 7 – 9 and one for Years 10 – 12.   ‘Students are doing hands-on science and converting light into electricity!  This challenge gets the students thinking creatively around manipulating experimental variables, producing a scientific product and communicating process and findings through video’.
The Years 7 – 9 challenge offers some free equipment and so should be checked out.
In the Years 10 – 12 challenge, students in teams of 2 – 3 create their own solar cell.  S
tudents will need to ‘apply a range of techniques and create a method to enhance an existing or new simple solar cell.  Students record their journey and show their scientific product in action via 2 – 3 min video, which is judged’.
As the product produced in this Challenge is open, equipment is not provided to teams.  Therefore, there is no cost per team to enter.  However, teams/schools must supply and purchase their own equipment, the total cost of which should come to no less than $50 per team.
Schools can enter up to 6 teams.

Time line:

  • Registrations close       3 April
  • Teacher resources and judging criteria released   6 April 
  • Resource package send out      6 April (week of) 
  • Submissions open       14 April 
  • Submissions close       26 June 
  • Winners announced      Late July

Prizes   For the overall winning teams, their schools will receive a starting grant to initiate a new and/or enhance an existing energy sustainability initiative.  The schools will also receive a researcher visitor to speak to a group of students and/or at an assembly.   Individual student winners will receive a prize pack of goodies depending on the category!

d) Girls in Physics Day, Friday 17th July, University of Melbourne
F
urther information regarding program and registration will be sent out in the coming months. Please feel free to register your interest by email to the University of Melbourne.

Return to top

4.  Events for Teachers

a) Beginning Physics Teacher In-Service on Tues, 31st March at Kew High School.
Cost: Free, with a travel subsidy for regional participants.  Click here for more details and to register.  This event will proceed.

c) Road to Zero Teacher In-Service, 4:30pm – 6:00pm, Tuesday, 17th March, Melbourne Museum
Teachers of VCAL and Year 9 and 10 Science and Health & PE are invited to a preview of the Road to Zero Education Experience at Melbourne Museum on Tuesday 17 March.  A TAC and Melbourne Museum partnership, Road to Zero provides an engaging and immersive exploration of the scientific principles of road safety and public health campaign development using the latest technologies.

The programs are specifically designed to address the Victorian Science and Health & PE curriculum for Year 9, 10 and VCAL.  The experience allows students to work out for themselves (in a safe environment) why bodies aren’t built to survive the impact of severe crashes and how we can create a safer future.

Preview event highlights
*  A guided tour of the Road to Zero Experience Space.
*  See the contemporary Learning Studios where students can reflect on their learning and apply it to curriculum-linked activities.
*  Learn about pre- and post-visit resources that support Road to Zero excursions and incursions.
*  Opportunity to network and socialise with peers and learning specialists.
*  Light refreshments will be served.

There is no cost, click here for more details and to register and also to check whether this event will proceed..

Return to top

5.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

a) CERN physicists close in on antimatter–matter asymmetry

Physicists have taken another step forward in the search for signs that antimatter behaves differently to matter — and so might explain why the universe appears to consist almost exclusively of the latter. Researchers at the CERN particle-physics laboratory in Switzerland used laser spectroscopy to scrutinize the fine structure of antihydrogen, revealing with an uncertainty of a few percent that the tiny difference in energy of states – known as the Lamb shift – is the same as it is in normal hydrogen.

The fact that the cosmos seems to contain very little antimatter – even though equal quantities of that and ordinary matter should have been produced following the Big Bang – is a major outstanding problem in physics. Generating, trapping and then measuring atoms of antimatter offers a relatively new way of probing this asymmetry. In particular, anomalies in the spectra of antiatoms compared with the known results from ordinary matter could point to a violation of what is known as charge–parity–time (CPT) symmetry.

b) The secret to flying carbon-free
Recent innovations in engine development.  How realistic will it be to de-carbonise air travel.

c)  Double Slits with Single Atoms.
Thomas Young’s double-slit experiment is famous for demonstrating the principle of interference. Andrew Murray explains why it’s now possible to carry out an equivalent experiment using lasers that have excited individual rubidium atom.