Black Hills State University (CAMSE)
- Johnson, Andy
Center for the Advancement of Math and Science Education
Black Hills State University
Spearfish, SD 57799
The Radioactivity By Inquiry project is developing a set of materials for students to understand radioactivity and ionizing radiation at a basic level. This project was initially driven by a science literacy concern - nuclear power may be set to grow again, but very few members of the general public know about radiation or nuclear waste. These inquiry based course materials use the CPU/ PIPS approach and are designed for use with high school students and with non-science majors in college. The goal was to see how much students can figure out about radioactivity without relying on lectures and textbooks. The answer is, a lot!
However, experience and research in the classroom has uncovered serious student difficulties with atoms, ionization, the production of radiation, and the interaction of radiation with matter (and health effects).
The current set of materials - still in development - now address some of these fundamental difficulties. An NSF CCLI grant is enabling further research on relevant learning issues, development of new simulators, and trial testing the improved materials in other venues. Look for workshops on Inquiring Into Radiation at future AAPT meetings!
Another project is local teacher professional development using CPU, PIPS, PET, and most recently, the Modeling materials.
Future directions: I want to learn how to teach about sustainability. This requires learning how to teach about the properties of systems, particularly complex systems.