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Report on the 3rd Annual Spring Meeting of the NCS-AAPT
March 20-21, 1998
University of North Carolina - Greensboro

The third annual spring meeting of the North Carolina Section was held at the University of North Carolina - Greensboro, hosted by Gaylord Hageseth and members of the physics department: Bob Clark, Jerry Meisner, Bob Muir, and Marilyn Trivett, March 20-21, 1998. Nineteen papers and four workshops were presented for the edification of the 118 attendees.

Friday evening's session on distance learning was arranged by the NC TYC Physics Alliance. Highlighting the session was Sherman Frye's "Conceptual Physics through Distance Learning" which was followed by a panel made up of practitioners of distance learning. The very active TYC group continued discussion after the evening social with a few specially invited guests.

Saturday morning's session began with "Web-Based Introductory Astronomy: Authoring, Publishing and Learning" by Jerry Meisner followed by papers coming out of the NSF-funded Technology Tools for Science and Mathematics Learning program at UNCGreensboro. Suzanne Huerth's "What is Man's Concept of Light?" won the prize ($100) for the best graduate student paper. Invited Speaker Paul Hewitt's "A Ramp Called 'Conceptual Physics'" was very well received as was his late afternoon workshop "Chalkboard Techniques for Those Who Never Thought They Could." Invited speaker Gregor Novak's "Just-in-Time Teaching with the Web" was postponed to the afternoon due to technical difficulties, but it was well worth the wait. Plinio Santos-Filho's "The Science of Art - Physics 299" won the prize ($150 towards travel expenses to present a similar paper at a national meeting) for the best pedagogical paper. Nina Morley of Orange High School presented a paper on the Cinema Classics in preparation for an afternoon workshop on the topic.

After lunch we were treated to some simple, but impressive demonstrations in E&M by Arthur Bryant and Chris Roddy of Sandhills Community College. This was followed by a paper suggesting a course on optical properties of semi-conductors by Leah Bergman, but of more interest to several listeners was the possibility of integrating some of the suggestions into introductory physics courses as modern physics topics. Denise Wetli reported on her group's efforts to produce modules integrating mathematics and physics. The last paper by Wolfgang Christian and Aaron Titus described the many uses of physlets, small Java programs that can be imbedded into HTML browsers, which are used to deliver media-focused physics problems.

Frazier Worth presented a spreadsheet workshop entitled "3-D Mapping of Electric Potentials." On Saturday afternoon John Layman presented an invited workshop on "Powerful Ideas in Physical Science," the joint AAPT-NSF program designed to improve physics teaching at the middle school level by providing the prospective teachers of these students with material and a learning experience that can translate into their better understanding of physics and, in turn, those of their students.

Besides special guests Paul Hewitt, Sherman Frye, Gregor Novak, and John Layman we were pleased to have Ray Serway and Gene Hecht mixing and mingling with our members.

A wide variety of options were available for an inexpensive lunch on campus. The TYC21 group met for a working lunch attended by about 25 attendees.

At the business meeting Aaron McAlexander was elected to a three-year term as Two-Year College Representative and Chuck Bennett was elected vice-president. Prizes donated by AAPT, Bernard O. Beck, and Vernier Software, were much appreciated as well as donations for snacks, soft drinks, and ancillary expenses from Brooks/Cole Publishing, Saunders College Publishing, Prentice-Hall Publishers, Problem Solving Concepts, Smylie Enterprises, Spectrum Techniques, John Wiley & Sons, and Ztek. Thanks also to North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina - Greensboro for material support.

The fall meeting of the NCS-AAPT will be held at the University of North Carolina - Asheville with Chuck Bennett as the host.

John L. Hubisz



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