My educational philosophy is that students learn best when they are actively engaged in physics through activities such as reading, discussing, experimenting, and solving problems. My role is to create more experiences in which my students construct their own understanding of physics and how our universe works. I use a mixture of low-tech and high-tech in class — whichever is pedagogically appropriate. I am a proponent of Modeling Instruction, the Matter and Interactions curriculum, and Standards-Based Grading.
I also maintain a website which collects popular YouTube clips for students to analyze and apply physics called Win/Fail Physics.
While I hate the phrase “Action-Reaction” when used to explain Newton’s 3rd Law, I find it a rather suitable title for a blog about reflections on teaching physics.
John Jay High School, 1998 – present
Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching
Science Awardee for New York, 2011
National Board Certified Teacher
AYA/Science (Physics) 2010
In the media
• TEDxNYED: Learning Science by Doing Science
• USA Today: Sal Khan’s ‘Academy’ sparks a tech revolution in education
• MetroFocus (PBS): Will Khan Academy Conquer New York Classrooms?
• Physics Today: Computer games take their place in the science classroom
• CUNY-TV75: Science and U! Episode 11 (Angry Birds Lesson)
• The New York Times: Online Learning, Personalized
• The Lewisboro Ledger: Cultivator of curiosity named a top teacher
• StateImpact Indiana (NPR): How YouTube Is Changing The Classroom
• Lab Out Loud (NSTA): But Are They Really Learning?
• The Economist: Flipping the Classroom
• USA Today: ‘Flipped’ classrooms take advantage of technology
• MSNBC.com: Future of Technology
• Middletown Transcript: Physics teachers collaborate to better serve students
• Kotaku: Angry Birds, Happy Physicists
• American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)
• American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA)
• Science Teacher Association of New York State (STANYS)
My résumé (June 2011)
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How successful are your students? (AP / IB data, standardized tests, college matriculation ect)?
Details about my specific group of students comprise one data point that has little meaning and can be open to various interpretations. I teach in an affluent area with strong parental involvement in the schools. They go to great colleges, have great test scores, and do awesome things outside of school.
You can see our school report card here: https://www.nystart.gov/publicweb/School.do?county=WESTCHESTER&district=660101030000&school=660101030004&year=2010
I suggest reading these success stories about Modeling Instruction from a much more diverse group of schools nationwide: http://modeling.asu.edu/SuccessStories_MI.htm
Thanks for the blog – interesting reading and a lot of ideas I will incorporate into my teaching as I have recently moved into more Physics and Chemistry than Biology. Since reading your post on whiteboarding (and voting for it in the Edublog Awards), I have used the technique much more – and am more able to work with groups of students and have them explain things to me. Thanks!
I came across your blog looking for some inspiration on using Angry Birds in my ninth grade Physics class. Your blogs are great and I love the 180 Photo Project. While looking at the clip of the toilet paper roll drop, I was dismayed to see the lack of girls in your AP Physics class! Perhaps you teach at an all-boys high school.
This year, my AP C class has one girl. The previous two years there were no girls! That wasn’t always a problem. My strongest AP class ever had 24 students: 12 boys and 12 girls. Several of those girls went on to graduate with a degree in physics/astronomy. I’m not sure why there has been a downward trend lately. The other physics classes (AP B, College-Prep, etc.) do not have a gender imbalance. Any suggestions to help enroll more girls?
Hi Frank, thanks for sharing your reflections about teaching physics. I’m also a high school physics teacher from Maldonado, Uruguay.
I want to ask you if you work in Public education and how many “classroom” hours per week do you work in teaching?.
We normally work about 40 to 60 hours* p/week in Uruguay. (*direct classroom modules of about 45 minutes)
Thanks again, and so sorry for my poor english =)
Hi! In my school, we are required to be in school for 35 hours each week. But we put in way more time before and after school for lesson planning, lab prep, meetings, extra help, etc. I’d say the time I put into school and school related activities is well over 40 hours per week.
Thanks Frank for your response! And congratulations because surely you need another 35 hs to maintein your highly inspirational blog =). Thanks again!
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well done you are a great teacher
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I really enjoyed looking over your blog. I’m looking for people just like you to join my new group on Linkedin about teaching Math and Science with 21st Century Technology. Would you mind posting some of the content from your blog onto my group? I think it would be great material to start up conversations (and when we get more members drive some traffic back to your site as well) 🙂
Even if you decide not to join us, keep up the good work! Below is the link to the group just in case you’re interested/ want to check it out.
weldone. Great job. Very inspiring for all level people.
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