Conceptual Physics

At the request of the College of Education and upon commissioning by Dr. Joseph H. Hadley, Rod had initiated the Conceptual Physics course in the summer of 1980 as an intensive pair of 3-week courses in the summer. 1982 marked the third year of offering the course.

The above is the bulletin sent out to the departments in the College of Education about the offerings of the Department of Physics and Astronomy which were appropriate for those students going into science teaching. In just its third year, the Conceptual Physics course had become our major offering to education majors because of the requirement of a physics course for science certification. Rod taught the Conceptual Physics course every summer except one for thirty years, and in later years the course outline in HyperPhysics gave active resources for the course.

The one item that turned out to be untrue in the distributed bulletin above is the phrase "science teachers (but not physics teachers) ..." . From the first year, Rod was having discussions with former students in the Conceptual Physics class who had been asked to teach the physics course in the high school where they were teaching. The shortage of high school physics teachers in Georgia was severe, and in a number of cases, the teacher who had been through the intensive summer Conceptual Physics course was the best-prepared person they had to teach the physics course.

Interactions with these teachers who had been pressed into service, and even with those who were teaching physical science in middle school, made it evident that this six-weeks conceptual course was not sufficient to prepare them for their teaching. From this experience rose the conviction that science teachers in both middle school and high school could benefit from a more extensive physics resource that was available to them on a continuous basis. 1982 was the dawn of personal computers, and was ten years before the establishment of the internet, but the efforts to provide resources for teachers formed the primary driving force that led to HyperPhysics on the web in 1998.

Western trip

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