Teaching Quantum Concepts the Fun and Easy Way  

Leaders: Zhanna Glazenburg and Fernand Brunschwig

This workshop is FREE. It is funded by the National Science Foundation as part of the Quantum Physics Outreach Project (QPOP). QPOP is jointly developed by STEMteachersNYC and Prof. Sebastian Will (Columbia University)

Workshop Description

Gravitational waves, black holes, and quantum computing are catnip to our imaginations and potentially fascinating to students. But how can we engage students in the key quantum mechanical concepts necessary for understanding such apparently-exotic phenomena? We will introduce participants to pedagogical strategies to demystify quantum concepts and ideas without relying on equations. In student mode, participants will enact actual classroom lessons illustrating and explaining the key quantum mechanical concepts, and in teacher mode, we will explore and analyze our practice and the pedagogical techniques involved in successfully cultivating student understanding of these often-elusive ideas.

Sequence of Concepts will be drawn from the following: Wave phenomena and theory; Photoelectric Effect (via PHeT simulation), J. J. Thomson’s “plum pudding” model, George P. Thompson’s x-ray diffraction experiments, Rutherford’s nuclear model, Bohr’s atomic model, wave mechanics and wave packets, uncertainty principle, nuclear fission.

Participants will receive digital and printed copies of Chapters 6, 7, and 8 of Introductory Physics: A Model Approach by Robert Karplus, plus a draft “Teachers’ Guide” to the same chapters by Fernand Brunschwig, including answers to many of the end-of-chapter questions and much supplementary material. These chapters develop the same concepts targeted in this workshop, starting from an understanding of the behavior of waves and avoiding the usual challenging (and for this purpose unnecessary) study of Newtonian Mechanics.

Dates: Sunday April 18, 10:30am to noon and Sunday April 25, 10:30 am to noon (Eastern, NYC, time).