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Pomona College 9th Annual High-School Physics Workshop to Focus on Electromagnetism

As school districts continue to slash budgets, Pomona College will host its Ninth Annual Physics Teachers Workshop on Saturday, March 26, 2011, providing Southern California high school physics teachers with free resources and instructions for hands-on physics experiments on “electromagnetism” designed to inspire high school students.

This year’s two hands-on lab activities are:

  • “Magnetic Force on a Current-Carrying Wire” - This activity is designed to allow the student to explore the effect of an external field on a current-carrying wire in that field. Students determine the direction of the magnetic force on the wire, allowing them an opportunity to experience the right- hand rule. They determine the relationships between the length of the wire, the current through the wire, and the magnetic force.
  • “Energy Conversion in a Light Bulb” – One of the most fundamental principles of physics is the law of conservation of energy. Regardless of its form, energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can, however, be converted from one form to another. In this activity, electrical energy is converted to light and internal energy (heat). By comparing results from a clear and a black medium, we can find the fraction of the energy emitted in the visible part of the spectrum.

After completing the workshop, teachers can reserve from Pomona, an entire class set of lab equipment to use with their classes at no cost. The equipment is provided by the West Coast branch of the Cornell Institute for Physics Teachers, which is housed at Pomona College.

“Our goal is to excite teachers and give them additional tools to excite their students,” explains workshop director David Tanenbaum, an associate professor of physics at Pomona College. “We realize that many high school teachers have only minimal budgets and facilities. We hope that the workshop provides that excitement and that the equipment resources make it possible for all of our teachers to bring these activities into classrooms throughout our area.”

Almost 150 high school teachers have participated in the annual workshops, from throughout Los Angeles and Orange County. Approximately 30 labs are checked out each year.

The 2011 Pomona College workshop is co-sponsored by Pomona College, the CNS Institute for Physics Teachers and the National Science Foundation. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Five and one-half in-service credits will be awarded for participation. Breakfast and lunch are provided. The event will be held at the Pomona College Milikan Laboratory, 610 N. College Ave., Claremont, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  For a more detailed schedule, call (909) 621-8724 or visit or http://www.cns.cornell.edu/cipt/workshops.html. The workshop flyer can be seen here [pdf] .

Pomona College is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research. Visit Pomona College on the web at www.pomona.edu.

Contact Information

David Tanenbaum
Associate Professor of Physics
Pomona College
Phone: (909) 621-8722
Email: dtanenbaum@pomona.edu

Julie Nucci
Director, CNS Institute for Physics Teachers
Cornell University
Phone: (607) 255-2102
Email: jn28@cornell.edu