American Physical Society
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Information for High School Educators

Investigating Physicists in High School

When discussing career opportunities for Physicists, we often refer to them as "hidden". Why? Most physicists are actually employed in fields or have job titles that do not include the work physics! This makes it very challenging for students interested in physics to identify ways in which they can use their physics skills and knowledge to pursue an exciting and rewarding career. We hope we can provide you and your students with resources to help demystify what physics is and what physicists do at this website! In the profiles section, your students will be able to learn more about what physicists do in their jobs and also what types of educational preparation were necessary to prepare them for their careers. In the physics career facts section, we'll provide details about where physicists work, what typical salaries they earn and what types of job titles they have.

In addition to helping students explore career options for physicists through this website, there are resources that you can use both inside and outside of the classroom to help your students prepare for majoring in Physics in college. Here are a few examples. You can find additional resources in the Physicists Organizations section of the website

Classroom Activities Featuring Physicists

Encourage your students to explore and to ask questions. Show them how the physics they are learning connects to their real world and show them the people that do the science, if possible. Here are a few suggestions for how you can do that:

  • Connect your class with a physicist electronically by participating in Adopt-a-Physicist.
  • Bring current topics in physics research into your classroom using the resources available at Physics Central.
  • Contact a Physicist at your local college or university and invite them to visit your class. Physicists LOVE to share their passion for science and learning with others and also love to do demonstrations! If you aren't sure who to contact, simply e-mail the chair of the Physics department at the college or university nearest you.
  • Contact the student physics club nearest you and invite them to visit your students. They too love to share their love for physics and would be very happy to visit if their academic schedule allows.
  • Bring virtual physicists into your classroom by starting a class period with a short video clip featuring a physicist. The teachers' domain is a library of multimedia resources and related curricular resources that can help to bring physics "alive" for your students.

Outside of the classroom

Encourage your students to get involved in science fairs and other extracurricular science activities at your school and in your geographical area. It helps to expose them to as much science as possible. At the same time, they'll be involved in great projects that will get them thinking about which aspects of physics really excite them.

Remember, the best part of being a physicist is having fun investigating the world around you as you try to understand how things work! Keep encouraging them to investigate, understand and innovate!

Featured Resource

ADVISER, TEACHER, ROLE MODEL, FRIEND Book Cover

Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend
This guide offers helpful advice on how teachers, administrators, and career advisers in science and engineering can become better mentors to their students. It starts with the premise that a successful mentor guides students in a variety of ways: by helping them get the most from their educational experience, by introducing them to and making them comfortable with a specific disciplinary culture, and by offering assistance with the search for suitable employment.