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SD Department of Education Aug. 2015  

  Timber Lake teacher attends international education academy in Greece

Gene Stowe, University of Notre Dame, contributed to this article

Through the National Science Foundation, 20 physics teachers from across the United States, including Timber Lake teacher LuAnn Lindskov, joined 30 of their European counterparts in July in Attica, Greece, for the Inspiring Science Education Summer Academy 2015, a six-day training and networking program aimed at boosting inquiry-based learning in high school classrooms.

The foundation funded the trip through the national QuarkNet Program, an education and outreach program that partners high school physics teachers with particle physicists at more than 50 centers across the country. Lindskov was nominated to attend because of her ongoing work with the QuarkNet Program.

“This kind of international relationship building is a big win for QuarkNet teachers and the hundreds of students they serve,” says Mitch Wayne, professor of physics at the University of Notre Dame and one of QuarkNet’s national principal investigators. “It opens access to new resources, new models of learning, and new colleagues and collaborators in the field.”

“This experience introduced me to new technologies to incorporate into my curriculum, such as augmented reality,” Lindskov says. “This new tool allows animations to be superimposed onto real objects using cameras and a software system.”

In the photo above, Professor Angelos Lazoudis was demonstrating augmented reality by holding a target near an object. The animated blue dots on the screen represent how particles are moving at the subatomic level. If he were to hold the target near a cup of coffee, the dots would move faster; near a glass of ice water, the dots would move more slowly. Lazoudis is currently working on a particle physics augmented reality project involving the ATLAS detector at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland. CERN is home to the Large Hadron Collider, with which scientists detected the Higgs boson (commonly called the “God particle”) in 2012.

The teachers learned about eLearning tools, open digital educational resources such as data from CERN, Fermilab, and telescopes around the world, as well as teaching practices including real-world activities and project-based approaches that they can adapt to their own classrooms. Among other things, the teachers were introduced to the European Commission’s Global Online Science Labs for Inquiry Learning at School (Go-Lab), a European approach to engaging young students in science education.

Each teacher was asked to produce a classroom project with the tools and share it with the others. While some of her colleagues at the academy were working on classroom projects for advanced students, Lindskov has chosen to develop a project aimed at younger students. She is working on a unit for use with her freshman physical science students.

“I teach physics to physical science students starting in the second semester,” Lindskov says. “I’m hoping to incorporate into it some of the tools I was introduced to in Greece. Students will do some things online; other parts in the classroom. It’s based on inquiry, so the idea is to get kids asking really good questions, like, what would happen if? Then exploring and finding answers to their own questions. My project will allow students to test hypotheses about the relationship between energy types. It’s intended to introduce them to some of the mass and energy relationships that occur in particle physics.”

Once completed, academy participants’ projects will be housed in a repository on the Inspiring Science Education website for other teachers to access.

LuAnn Lindskov (right) at the Temple of Poseidon

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