The 5+ Club Supported SiteThe 5+ Club Supported Site Boston University: Program Data

The project collects data on the number of PhysTEC Graduates, PhysTEC Future Teachers, PhysTEC Learning Assistants, and PhysTEC Mentors; these PhysTEC terms are defined here. The project also collects data on physics pedagogy courses, early teaching experiences, and enrollment in K-8 physical science courses for future elementary school teachers.

PhysTEC Graduates (Years funded 2011-2014)
BaselineProject Funded
Year -2 Year -1 Year 0 Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
3 2 4 1 1 3


Future Physics Teachers
Year -2 2008/09 Year -1 2009/10 Year 0 2010/11 Year 1 2011/12 Year 2 2012/13 Year 3 2013/14
5 5 6 2 5 11

Definition of a Future Teacher at Boston University: A student at Boston University who has committed to completing a program of physics teacher education. Such students can come from one of four different pathways.

1. The Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program. Students do this 16-month program after completing their undergraduate degree.

2. Doing a four-year Physics Education undergraduate degree through the School of Education.

3. Completing the new track through the undergraduate Physics program, combining a physics degree with a sufficient number of education courses to graduate as a qualified physics teacher.

4. Completing the 20-credit ITOP program for physics teachers and then going on to do a Masters in Education.

Commentary on Future Physics Teachers data: For Year -2, we're now counting all the undergraduates. For Year -1, we're counting the undergraduates plus the Masters student, who came through our ITOP program, which is PhysTEC-related. For Year 0 and Year 1, we're counting the undergraduates. For Year 2, we're counting the three undergraduates, plus one more who is currently an undergraduate, and a physics LA, but who will most likely gain licensure through the MAT program. All the students in the Year 2 PhysTEC Future Teachers category have been Learning Assistants in Physics.

Learning Assistants in Physics Courses
Year -2 2008/09 Year -1 2009/10 Year 0 2010/11 Year 1 2011/12 Year 2 2012/13 Year 3 2013/14
0 0 0 20 25 26

Commentary on Learning Assistant data: 2011-12 was the first year of the LA program in Physics at Boston University. We started with LAs in the introductory physics classes, but by second semester we had extended the program into higher-level courses. In 2012-13, we expanded the LA program into more of the higher-level physics courses. In 2013-14, we focused on increasing the number of physics majors who served as LA’s – of 19 physics LA’s in Spring 2014, 12 were physics majors.

 PhysTEC Mentors
Year 1 2011/12 Year 2 2012/13 Year 3 2013/14
PhysTEC Mentors (current and prior TIRs) 1 1 1
Mentored PhysTEC Graduates 0 0 2
Mentored non-PhysTEC Teachers 1 49 44

Commentary on Mentors data: Our TIR in 2011-12 did some informal mentoring of a 2011 MAT graduate. Our TIR in 2012-13 did a significant amount of mentoring of a physics teacher at a public school in Boston, through the APS Pair program.

During the summer of 2012, our TIR, Mark Greenman, ran two different two-week summer workshops for physics teachers, hosted by (1) Boston University and (2) UMass-Lowell, attended by a total of 48 teachers. Mark Greenman ran these workshops again in the summer of 2013 for a total of 44 teachers plus 2 of our Masters of Arts in Teaching students. The summer workshops involve nine days with six full hours of content per day (54 hours total), with a total of 14 hours of callback time (two days of seven hours each) during the following year.


Course Number Course Name Semester Credit Hours Primarily for college physics teaching (Y/N) Primarily for secondary physics teaching (Y/N)
CAS NS540 Force and Motion 2 N Y
CAS NS541 Rotation and Gravitation 2 N Y
CAS NS542 Fluids and Thermodynamics 2 N Y
CAS NS543 Electrostatics, Magnetostatics & DC Circuits 2 N Y
CAS NS544 Waves, and Geometrical Optics 2 N Y
CAS NS545 Electromagnetism and Physical Optics 2 N Y
CAS NS546 Quantum Physics 2 N Y
CAS NS547 Special Relativity 2 N Y
CAS NS548 Computer Modeling 2 N Y
CAS NS549 Everyday Applications 2 N Y

Commentary on Pedagogy Course Data (include a brief description of each course): These are the 10 courses of the Improving the Teaching of Physics (ITOP) program, which started at Boston University in 2004. The courses are taken by both in-service teachers and Masters of Arts in Teaching students. The ITOP courses combine physics content with readings on, and reflections about, the conceptual history of physics and readings from the Physics Education Research literature.


Course Number (if applicable) Name of course (or program/ experience) Typical hours per semester Teaching college students (Y/N) Teaching K-12 students (Y/N)
SED SC521 LA Pedagogy Course/LA program 72 hours Y N
SED SC375 Exploring Science Teaching: A Practical Experience 30 hrs field N Y
  Physics Olympics 8 hours N Y
  Outreach to Runkle Elementary 3 hours N Y

Commentary on Early Teaching Experiences in Physics (include a brief description of each):

SC 521: Introduction to STEM Education Theory and Practice is the BU version of the Learning Assistant Pedagogy course developed at CU Boulder. The class meets 13 times per semester for two hours each. In addition, students are expected to spend 3 hours/week as a LA, 3 hours/week attending the course lectures, 1 hour/week in discussion with the course professor, and 1 hour/week working through the week’s assignment for the discussion section, for a total of 10 hours/week.

SC 375: Exploring Science Teaching: A Practical Experience provides interested students with a field placement in a science classroom in a local school with a mentoring teacher. The student is expected to spend 30 hours in the classroom and attend a 90-minute weekly seminar to discuss relevant readings and reflect on classroom experiences.

Physics Olympics: In 2013, six undergraduate physics majors served as judges during the all day Northeast Regional Physics Olympics competition. In 2014, seven physics majors did the same thing.

Outreach: In 2014, three Women in Science and Engineering graduate students provided demonstrations during the Runkle school’s (local elementary school) K-6 science evening.