Member InstitutionMember Institution University of Tennessee, Knoxville

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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Stuart Elston

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We have revamped our undergraduate curriculum to make it more appealing for non-traditional physics majors; those whose plans do not include graduate work in physics.

Many high schools in rural Tennessee do not offer courses in physics because of the lack of a certified physics teacher. In an effort to mitigate this problem, the department will be launching an innovative distance education program involving two high schools in Fentress County. Beginning in August, in collaboration with participating high-school science teachers who will provide in-class assistance, we will offer daily instruction in physics to Clarkrange High School and the York Academy. The course will be technologically sophisticated, with two-way audio and visual communication with both classes, personal reponse system ("clicker") use, and lecture demonstrations. If possible, we will employ a studio-physics type environment for many of the classes.

The participating high-school teachers are not certified in physics.  In addition to providing the first physics class at the two high schools, it is hoped that the project will help our high-school teachers move closer to certification.  We intend also to provide a Teaching Assistantship to a student interested in K-12 physics teaching.