Summer Institute Benefits High School Physics Teachers

Program Helps Teachers Engage Students through Active Learning in Physics Classrooms

Twenty-one high school physics teachers from 13 Houston-area school districts spent two weeks on the University of Houston campus attending a faculty-led professional development program designed to support active learning in physics classrooms.

Summer Institute
Teachers explore Newton’s 2nd Law through a classroom activity that lets students see how forces applied to an object relate to its acceleration and velocity.
Through the program, the STEM Teaching Equity Project – Physics Summer Institute, high school physics teachers explored new ways to engage their students in activities that reinforce physics concepts. They also visited physics laboratories to learn from our faculty members about current research.

The program is funded by the Teacher Quality Grants program of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Science Teaching. Principal Investigators are Drs. Margaret Cheung and Rebecca Forrest of the Department of Physics in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Dr. Wallace Dominey of the College of Education.

Session facilitators for the Summer Institute included Forrest, physics faculty member Dr. Donna Stokes, teachHOUSTON faculty member Dr. Paige Evans, and College of Education faculty member Dr. Milijana Suskavcevic.

Six additional physics faculty members, Drs. Kevin Bassler, Shuo Chen, Gemunu Gunaratne, Venkat Selvamanickam, Oomman Varghese and Lisa Whitehead, participated in the program by working with the teachers on activities or providing access to their labs.

Districts/Schools Represented:

Alief ISD
Crosby ISD
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD
Galena Park ISD
Harmony Science Academy
Houston ISD
Katy ISD
Lamar Consolidated ISD
Needville ISD
New Caney ISD
Pasadena ISD
Spring Branch ISD
Waller ISD

Follow-up sessions will be held throughout the year as part of the program.

- Kathy Major, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics