FM Instructor Receives Two Grants; Awards to Impact FM’s Physics and Astronomy Outreach with K-12 Students and Teachers

August 19, 2014

FM Solar System course (SCI 146) students Donald Korona, Nora King, Caitlyn Fuelleman, Emilley Taback, and Angelica Ellithorpe assembling FM’s new Dobsonian telescope, one of two telescopes to be used for the outreach efforts.

FM Solar System course (SCI 146) students Donald Korona, Nora King, Caitlyn Fuelleman, Emilley Taback, and Angelica Ellithorpe assembling FM’s new Dobsonian telescope, one of two telescopes to be used for the outreach efforts.

A Fulton-Montgomery Community College Instructor has been awarded a Physics-Astronomy outreach grant from the New York State Section of the American Physical Society (NYSS-APS), and a Bauder Fund grant from the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). The grants, totaling over $2,000, were awarded to Gilbert Ayuk, Instructor of Physics and Astronomy, for the projects: “Physics and Astronomy Educational Outreach Program (PAEOP)” and “Smartphone Physics Workshop for K-12 Physics Teachers.”

The PAEOP grant was funded under the NYSS-APS grants for ‘outreach to the public.’ The NYSS-APS gives small grants to APS members interested in starting their own physics-astronomy outreach programs.

According to Ayuk, the Physics and Astronomy Educational Outreach Program (PAEOP) at FM will seek to motivate a diverse group of K-12 students from schools in Fulton and Montgomery counties to develop interest in physics and astronomy. Collaborators in this project are FM Physics Associate Professor John Kohn and FM Electrical Technology Instructor Jeremy Spraggs.

The second project, “Smartphone Physics Workshop for K-12 Physics Teachers” was funded by the Frederick and Florence Bauder Endowment for the Support of Physics Teaching (Bauder Fund) administered by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). The smartphone physics workshop will seek to introduce a diverse group of K-12 physics and physical science teachers from the school districts in Fulton and Montgomery counties to the power of smartphones (and their applications) as a robust, versatile, and convenient apparatus for physics teaching. The goals of the workshop are to engage the physics teachers in hands-on laboratory exercises using smartphones and to strengthen and support the work of physics and physical science teachers through make-and-take physics equipment activities. The planning and implementation of the workshop will be carried out by Ayuk and George Amann, a certified Physics Teacher Resource Agent (PTRA) for New York State.

According to Ayuk, these projects are in line with FM’s Science Division’s efforts to increase its visibility in the community, “The outreach projects will not only excite young students about physics and astronomy, and encourage them to study physics, astronomy, and the related sciences, but will also equip the physics teachers to return to their schools and introduce their students to smartphone-based physics laboratory work. Given the low budget situation of most K-12 schools and the popularity of smartphones among students, the use of students-owned smartphones for performing traditional physics experiments should lead to a welcome reduction in schools’ laboratory budgets. The use of student-owned smartphones to collect data has been linked to increase students’ motivation to learn physics.”

 

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