Member Institution Brigham Young University-Idaho
Brigham Young University-Idaho
Brian A. Pyper
Professor of Physics
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The Physics Department at Brigham Young University-Idaho maintains a healthy stream of graduates in Physics Education, both majors and minors. Over the last three years we have graduated on average 3 physics education majors and 3 physics education minors each year. We feel our program is well suited for certification in secondary education by replacing some of the upper division physics major classes with Physics-By-Inquiry classes. These classes are heavily influenced by PER-based theory and require hands-on methods for learning (centered around the “Physics By Inquiry” books by Lillian McDermott). The instructor for the class, Ryan Neilson, attended the six week long summer in-service training from McDermotts PER group.
We also require all Physics Education students to experience a Lab Assistantship. One innovation of our department has been to have a single faculty member teach two lab sections simultaneously with the help of Lab Assistants. The faculty member trains the Lab Assistants and closely monitors their work in the lab. The Lab Assistants teach the introductory material at least once per week, help students perform the lab, grade the labs, and assist the faculty member in setting up and putting away equipment. These Assistants get the experience of being responsible for a classroom of students under the close tutelage of the faculty.
We also have a dedicated departmental education advisor, Dr. Brian Pyper who maintains the Research in Science Education (RISE) Group. This group, consisting mostly of Physics Education majors, is carrying out significant research. The research has been reported at the national AAPT and APS NW Section meetings the past several years. All this has helped in placing our students into good paying jobs and entrance into graduate schools to further their education. Currently (2014-2015) we have 14 physics education majors in our program.