Supported Site Florida International University: CHEPREO and Programs

CHEPREO Research Experiences for Students

Much of our reform efforts originated from within the CHEPREO project. CHEPREO, the Center for High Energy Physics Research and Education Outreach (www.chepreo.org), is a multidisciplinary, multi-institution NSF funded project that combines high energy physics research with ultra-fast networking and grid computing to perform fundamental physics research at CERN, the European particle accelerator in Geneva, Switzerland. CHEPREO also has a vibrant Education and Outreach component that uses the cutting edge science to excite, entice, and retain students into the sciences. In its three-year existence, CHEPREO has created a thriving community of learners consisting of over 75 high school teachers and their students, dozens of FIU undergraduate and graduate physics and science education students, and many faculty.

Professional Development Opportunities

To maximize impact, the initial phase of our efforts has been directed towards inservice teachers. Two three-week Summer Physics Modeling Workshops have been held each summer for the past four years. These provide training in guided-inquiry for science and math teachers as well as FIU undergraduate students. Over 100 teachers have participated in the workshops, 85% of which have been local teachers, and 50% have been
physics teachers. Undergraduates include preservice teachers and physics majors that participate in fellowship programs run by the College of Education and CHEPREO. Community contact and activities continue year-round to aid implementation and provide teacher support.

Undergraduate Reforms

Undergraduate reforms include revitalized undergraduate curriculum and classes, Treisman-based study groups, fellowships, and a dedicated student space. Guided by the SPIN-UP report, the undergraduate physics curriculum has been updated to include a BA degree, several tracks within the BA degree, and modifications to the BS degree including the inclusion of a freshman physics seminar. FIU offers several sections of modeling-based, guided inquiry introductory physics classes. Physics and science education majors are encouraged to sign up for these sections. The College of Education
organizes Treisman-based study groups for their students and CHEPREO fellows. The study groups are modeled after the work of Uri Treisman who found that placing underperforming students into small groups and providing them with challenging problems could dramatically increase their overall performance.