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Science Teachers Workshop 2012: A Big Year!



7 November 2012

The University of Sydney School of Physics was delighted to run the Biennial Science Teachers' Workshop 2012: A Big Year. Over 100 teachers from all over NSW participated in the two day workshop in a celebration of the big year in Physics.

The Science Teachers' Workshops are professional development courses offered across multiple disciplines (Physics, Agriculture, Biology and Chemistry) over a one-week period in November. The courses are suitable for high school science teachers of all levels - whether just starting out, teaching in a new area, or have years of experience.

Teachers attending the Nobel Lecture by physics Head of School Professor Tim Bedding.
Teachers attending the Nobel Lecture by physics Head of School Professor Tim Bedding.

"This is a very popular event, the science teachers love to go back to their schools telling their students of the fantastic people they met, who are at the forefront of their field," said Science Teachers Workshop organiser and Science Communicator at the School of Physics, Tom Gordon

The theme of the 15 Biennial Science Teachers Workshop was "A Big Year." The workshops focused on the extremely busy 12-18 months that Physics had 2012. With activity in many areas including a Nobel Prize in Astrophysics, Quantum simulator, transit of Venus, Curiosity on Mars, the Higgs boson, new classification of Black holes, Photonics chip, the Polywell, the Square Kilometer Array, extra solar planets, the AIN and many grants and awards.

"We really had a smashing year in Physics, it was great to celebrate all of these achievements as well as other various and brilliant wins," said Mr Gordon

For the first time in 2012, a financial assistance package was developed to ensure that eligible teachers were supported and given opportunities to access teaching support and professional development regardless of the school's financial or geographical disadvantage. This gave the opportunity for teachers to participate from Dubbo, Queanbeyan and also the Australian International School, Jakarta.

The lectures and workshops covered modules in the year 11 and 12 Physics syllabus, discussions of National Curriculum, careers information, and some fantastic speakers, who were all pumped up about sharing their respective the big years.

Gaining some skills, techniques and resources from Associate Professor Joe Khachan and Dr Steven Bosi at the Science Teachers Workshop.
Gaining some skills, techniques and resources from Associate Professor Joe Khachan and Dr Steven Bosi at the Science Teachers Workshop.

One of the favourites of the workshop was from an innovative and inspirational teacher named Tony Zola, who shared a few of his home built physics demonstrations that have become legendary in the NSW Physics education sphere. The Head of School, Professor Tim Bedding, also gave a lecture that covered his research on Asteroseismology and touched on the Nobel Prize in Physic awarded to Professor Brian Schmidt from the ANU. Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, also gave a lecture on his big year, and was also a favourite.

Some outstanding comments from the two day workshop included; "The speakers was dynamic, the topics were interesting and useful for my classroom teaching as well as being useful for my own understanding," and "I love learning about what is going on in Physics research now - it's not all about the syllabus - it's good for improving my knowledge which I think is very important to my teaching"

The workshop dinner was a great chance for teachers to relax a little bit, share ideas, catch up with old colleagues and have some great food. The speaker for the evening was Veritasium's and School of Physics' own Dr Derek Muller whose talk on misconceptions in science was very well received and created some great discussion.

"I would like to pass on my sincere and deep thank you to all of the staff and students at the School of Physics for giving their time to what I believe is a very important workshop," said Mr Gordon.


Contact: Tom Gordon

Phone: 02 9351 3201

Email: 173c3457212c3c4f01266f1d2b202c260c7a552a23165302