Program Information

Sec. 2: Activities

Application and Selection

The focus of this project is to develop teacher intellectual leaders who will act as resources and catalysts for reform in science education in general and freshman physics in particular in their buildings, districts and local communities. In keeping with this goal, we accepted two or three science teachers from each building as Physics First Fellows.

Criteria for selection include:

  • Schools and districts that agree to transition to offering physics to all freshmen.
  • Individuals/teams who have the greatest potential for intellectual leadership, as demonstrated by commitment to their own learning, their students’ learning, and improving their teaching effectiveness.
  • Teachers who teach a diverse group of regular, honors and special education students.
  • Teachers with five or more years teaching experience.
  • Preference to original Core Districts, assuming that individuals meet the above criteria.
  • We recommned two Fellows from each building. Up to three Fellows may be selected in larger buildings.

Pre-Academy Orientation Meeting:

All applicants selected to be Physics First Fellows attended a pre-academy orientation meeting, held on April 2010 and 2011 at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Summer Academies (held in June) :

The Summer Academies are intensive residential experiences that develop Fellows’ leadership and physics content knowledge over three years. They are held at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.

The Summer Academy curriculum is based on inquiry and modeling pedagogies and leadership training. Physics topics are aligned with Missouri Course Level Expectations (CLEs) and National Science Education Standards (NSES). The academies are team-taught by university faculty and experienced peer teachers. The physics content courses are organized as follows:

Year 1 (4 weeks): Electricity, Uniform and Accelerated Motion, Forces, Newton’s Laws

Year 2 (4 weeks): Applications of Newton’s Laws, Energy, Astronomy, Heat, Waves

Year 3 (2 weeks):

  • Track 1: for Praxis exam applicants: History of Science, Modern Physics, Magnetism and Electomagnetism, and additional topics
  • Track 2: Flexible scheduling includes practice in content leadership skills, learn to conduct PD, work on curriculum revision, produce electronic resources, revisit concepts, work on National Board Certification materials.

A one-week academy is scheduled for math teacher colleagues from Fellows’ districts along with a two-day administrator academy, both offered concurrently during the Fellows’ academy in years 1 and 2.

2012 Academy Dates:
Science Teacher Academy: June 4 - June 29, 2012
Math Teacher Academy: June 4 - 8, 2012
Administrator Academy: June 7 - 8,

Academic Year

Academic year activities are designed to support Fellows as they implement the Physics First curriculum in their 9th grade classrooms. Fellows will:

  • Attend three face-to-face Saturday follow-up sessions that focus on content, pedagogy and leadership.
  • Fully participate in Professional Learning Communities (PLC) and online discussions.
  • Receive support from trained coaches/mentors.
  • Access a web-based learning community.
  • Utilize a kit-lending program for classroom sets of materials.
  • Receive direct access to knowledgeable project staff.
  • Attend Leadership in Science Education, a one-hour online seminar/course through MU.

Evaluation activities

Pre-post tests and surveys will occur throughout.

Go to Sec. 3: Requirements