North Carolina Section Report


The 4th Annual Fall Meeting of the North Carolina Section of the AAPT met October 8-9, 1999, at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.  Cliff Swartz, editor of "The Physics Teacher" spoke Friday on "Models and Reality."  He was introduced by Karl Mamola, long-time friend and former student who "blamed" his own successful career on Professor Swartz.  After several levels of models sprinkled with humor we enjoyed a real social get-together.  The two-year college teachers continued until very late into the evening at the Scottish Inn discussing conceptual physics and other listed courses that may be taught in North Carolina Two-Year Colleges.


 Trish Allen started early on Saturday with "Learning Web-based Instruction with the Students" and was followed by Chuck Bennett's "Asynchronous Streaming Video to Enhance Classroom Instruction."  Plinio Santos-Filho's "The Desktop Classroom" and Jose' D'Arruda's presentation of Stella modeling software rounded out the "high tech" papers.   On the "low tech" side Denise Wetli described further developments with integrating mathematics and physics activities; Chuck Stone described and presented a short videotape of his "Forsyth Tech Physics Show" which was shown on the local news, Patty Blanton looked back at "Modeling in High School Physics Instruction," Duane Deardorff asked "How Much Do Students Really Learn from Physics Labs?" (The results require that we follow-up with improved labs) and Arthur Bryant presented four low cost demonstrations on sound and momentum.  Patricia Allen, Nina Morley, Patty Blanton and Lisa Grable headlined an effort to create an improved university/high school alliance.  Lisa Grable's earlier paper aimed at promoting inquiry in the Middle Schools can best be learned about by visiting 


Highlighting Saturday morning's session was a double presentation by Cliff Swartz: "Quantitative Physics," (Conceptual physics will fare better with some quantitative measuring and thinking early on) coupled with "Friction," Can you believe those assumptions that we make when discussing "friction?")


The last formal paper by Donald Collins won the prize for the best pedagogical paper and was entitled "Video Recording of the Flash Spectrum from a Total Solar Eclipse" which detailed an expedition to Romania by faculty and students and featured video excerpts of the events.  The best graduate student paper was that by Lisa Grable mentioned earlier.


At a short business meeting members were encouraged by Larry Cain of Davidson College to attend the Spring 2000 Meeting on March 17th &18th at Davidson where the featured speaker will be Arnold Arons.  There are workshops planned and papers on Physlets as well as special events connected with high schools and two-year colleges.  The Fall 2000 Meeting will be a joint meeting sponsored by SACS-AAPT and will be held in South Carolina.  The Spring 2001 Meeting will be held in Durham at the North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics.  Section Representative, Karl Mamola, reminded us of the election, the half-price offer, the Winter Meeting (1/15-19/00), the early-bird deadline (10/15/99), and the committee to look into the AAPT Constitution.  As the Awards Committee chairman he provided nomination forms for the Walter Connolly Award for a deserving high school teacher.   (Our first winner, Liz Woolard, received the Presidential Award at the White House.)


Nina Morley and Chuck Britton presented the PTRA workshop on "Electrostatics" for 14 attendees and despite the poor weather a half dozen members went out to the Dark Sky Observatory to look at the equipment available for probing the sky when the fog lifts and the rain clears. 


John L. Hubisz