OPTYCs SPOTLIGHT 2023 Issue 15

September 20, 2023 Issue #15

SPOTLIGHT is the OPTYCs bi-weekly newsletter. It brings you OPTYCs activity updates, highlights from recent publications related to physics education, and news & resources for Two-Year colleges.


Upcoming events
  • PER Journal Club Discussion -Join us to share what you do in labs in this discussion about best practices.
  • STEPUP 2023 Women Workshop -

  • STEPUP 2023 Actions Workshop -

  • PER Journal Club Discussion -Join us to talk about physics for life sciences.
  • TPT 2023 Workshop -

  • PALS 2023 Workshop -

  • SPOTLIGHT is planning to add a section named "Reader's corner" that will feature contributions from readers. Please consider sharing comments, tips, ideas, resources you have come across or anything that you think might benefit your physics TYC colleagues.
    Contact me directly if you have any question or suggestion: karim.diff@sfcollege.edu
OPTYCs Programs
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Change Teams: The goal for this two-year-long program is to create a capacity-building learning community among two-year college physics-related teaching instructors to support efforts to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion for our students. We are now accepting applications for Cohort 1 (until October 20, 2023).
  • OPTYCs Leadership Institute 2024: The TYC Leadership Institute is an innovative fellowship specially designed for Two-Year College Physics faculty, aiming to develop and enhance their leadership skills. The application deadline is October 20, 2023.

Kris’ corner

Tips, summaries, and musings from Kris Lui (OPTYCs Director)

One way to jolt students out of their complacent ‘studenting’ habits, is to start class with a thinking activity. In his book Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics (Corwin - Sage Publishing, 2021) education researcher Peter Liljedahl provides many examples of these types of tasks. To be a thinking task, the problem that is posed must: be open-ended (no one correct answer), have a low floor (it takes very little effort or knowledge to get started), and have a high ceiling (there is much complexity in the task so that high achievers can keep exploring). And interestingly, devoting the first few minutes of a class to one of these tasks, even if they are not relevant to your content, primes students into thinking and they are much more likely to continue thinking throughout the rest of the lesson.


Honor Emmy Noether With the Unit For Momentum

Why this petition matters

Started by Erik Jensen

Every single base and derived SI unit named after a person is named after a man. There are 19 named SI units, and it is time that we named one after a woman. The derived unit for momentum, kg*m/s, is commonly used and a bit cumbersome as it stands. Emmy Noether made a key contribution to our understanding of the connection between symmetry and conservation laws (including conservation of momentum), so momentum is a natural choice for a unit named in her honor.

We urge the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the General Conference on Weights and Measures (GCWM) to consider adopting the "noether" as the SI unit for momentum.


Sign the petition here 

Physics and TYC Community 


Presentation Submissions 

Calling all physics educators! AAPT invites you to join a vibrant and enthusiastic community of fellow educators. If you're passionate about advancing physics education and have innovative teaching ideas to share, seize this opportunity to connect and collaborate at the 2024 AAPT Winter Meeting in the captivating city of New Orleans.

Deadline: The last day to submit an abstract is September 27. 


Video AAPT inaugural episode: Solar Eclipse Activites - 9/26, 7PM Eastern

Introducing Video AAPT: Free virtual streaming interactive workshops for everyone with a passion for teaching physics!

episode 1: Solar Eclipse Activities airs on Tuesday Sept. 26 at 7:00 PM.

Click here for more information and to register


Books, Articles, and Media

Sixty five years ago, on October 18, 1958 Tennis for Two an electronic tennis game that is unquestionably a forerunner of the modern video game was first introduced at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Read more about that story here

Recent papers

How do we assess computation in Physics? This paper provides a snapshot of some commonly used assessment activities and forms for computation in Physics. 

Social Reader Perusall: A Highly Effective Tool and Source of Formative Assessment Data This paper describes the authors' experience using Perusall in a STEM course at Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, Slovakia.

Integrating Python data analysis in an existing introductory laboratory course The authors of this papaper describe how they created and used Jupyter Notebooks their laboratory course at Potsdam University in Germany. 



The work of OPTYCs is supported by NSF-DUE-2212807.