Science Teacher Day

Plasma Science Teacher Day

Tuesday, October 8, 2024 (in-person)
Hyatt Regency
Atlanta, Georgia 

Registration will open soon!

Check out the 2023 Agenda!

Plasma Science Teacher Day is an event of free professional development workshops for teachers to learn about plasma physics and fusion research and ways to incorporate plasma lessons and activities in the classroom. These "real-life" topics, seldom found in conventional classroom discussions or in school textbooks, provide tools to help teachers inspire students to understand the research challenges of plasma science and related applications. The workshop presentations, handouts, and classroom resource materials are designed especially for middle and high school teachers and targeted to satisfy state and national standards.

Read more:
Why Teach Plasma Physics?


Questions?

Email the Education and Outreach Committee

Agenda

2023 Agenda

Workshops include plasma science demonstrations. Teachers will receive workshop materials, including some to take back to their classroom! 

All teachers will begin attending a Plasma 101 course: Introduction to Fusion Energy and Plasma Sciences. Teachers will then attend additional workshops in their Middle or High school track. 

*June 2022 Workshop resources and videos can be found in the section below for reference.

Workshop Description and Resources
*October 8, 2024 will be similar

Middle and High School

PLASMA 101 (Middle School): Introduction to Fusion Energy and Plasma Sciences - November 2023
Presenter: Shannon Swilley Greco, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

What is plasma and what makes it so cool? Will fusion as an alternative energy source on earth be a reality in our lifetime? This workshop will introduce you to plasma science as a stepping stone to understanding fusion energy research. Demonstrations and giveaways will bring the excitement of plasma and fusion science into your classroom!
Fusion energy is as old as the universe, yet scientists and engineers have been working to achieve fusion on earth during just the past 65 years. Small-scale fusion on earth has been achieved and is routine in many of today's experimental devices around the world. With an unprecedented international consortium of nations committed to developing the ITER project, we are closer than ever to achieving fusion as a safe and virtually unlimited source of clean energy. This workshop will introduce you to plasma science as a stepping stone to understanding fusion energy research. You will use standard science concepts pulled from atomic structure, gas laws, electricity, and Einstein's famous equation, E=mc2, to explore this rich and fascinating world of fusion science. Demonstrations and giveaways will enable you to bring the excitement of plasma and fusion science into your classroom! 

Slides - 2023 (link to be provided soon)
Slides and Virtual Presentation - June 2022


PLASMA 101 (High School): Introduction to Fusion Energy and Plasma Sciences - November 2023
Presenter: Rick Lee, General Atomics / DIII-D National Fusion Facility

What is plasma and what makes it so cool? Will fusion as an alternative energy source on earth be a reality in our lifetime? This workshop will introduce you to plasma science as a stepping stone to understanding fusion energy research. Demonstrations and giveaways will bring the excitement of plasma and fusion science into your classroom!
Fusion energy is as old as the universe, yet scientists and engineers have been working to achieve fusion on earth during just the past 65 years. Small-scale fusion on earth has been achieved and is routine in many of today's experimental devices around the world. With an unprecedented international consortium of nations committed to developing the ITER project, we are closer than ever to achieving fusion as a safe and virtually unlimited source of clean energy. This workshop will introduce you to plasma science as a stepping stone to understanding fusion energy research. You will use standard science concepts pulled from atomic structure, gas laws, electricity, and Einstein's famous equation, E=mc2, to explore this rich and fascinating world of fusion science. Demonstrations and giveaways will enable you to bring the excitement of plasma and fusion science into your classroom!.

Resources and Slides - November 2023
Slides - June 2022


Hands-On Fusion and Plasma Activities for your Classroom - November 2023
Presenters: Cheryl Harper, Greensburg Salem High School and and Katrina Brown, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, both representing Contemporary Physics Education Project (CPEP)

Plasma and fusion topics may seem difficult to teach and incorporate in an already packed curriculum. The hands-on activities introduced in this workshop will help your students to learn more about plasma and fusion sciences while reinforcing and extending topics such as light, electricity, and magnetism. Using some commonly available materials and inquiry methods, participants will explore tabletop "fusion," emission spectra from a fluorescent light, and the meaning of voltage and current in plasma. Some basic understanding of nuclear science, electricity, and the origin of electromagnetic radiation will be helpful. The activities in this workshop are primarily for high school students but several have also been adapted for middle school students and these will also be presented in the workshop. Presented by the Contemporary Physics Education Project (CPEP).

Resources - November 2023


Teaching Plasma Through Classroom Demos - November 2023
Presenters: Andrew Seltzman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

In this workshop, teachers will learn how to illustrate the basic concepts of plasma physics through in-class demos. Exciting experiments for your students will demonstrate how plasma is a different state of matter from ordinary gas, and the resulting properties that allow it to interact with electric and magnetic fields. Plasmas will be shown to be an ionized gas, electrically conductive, and composed of charged particles that react to magnetic fields.

Resources, YouTube video and Slides - 2023
Slides and Virtual Presentation - June 2022


The Electromagnetic Spectrum: How we know what we know about 100,000,000K plasmas - November 2023  Presenters: Rick Lee, General Atomics

The electromagnetic (EM) spectrum is a catch-all phrase that lumps together a particular kind of energy that can travel as waves (or so the model goes…) or can be thought of as particle-like photons.  People rely on the information they receive via these traveling waves, yet many misconceptions are present in students’ and teachers’ mental constructs describing such ‘waves’.  This workshop will answer the question of what is “waving” in an EM wave, how Polaroid glasses work, why there are holes in the door of your microwave oven, what we can tell about a high-temperature plasma (in the lab or in space) based on the characteristics of EM radiation, and more.  An infrared camera will be also be used to illustrate sophisticated detection systems and how EM energy interacts with different material substrates.

Resources and Slides - November 2023
Virtual Presentation - 2022


Making Fusion Work: Applying crosscutting concepts for energy solutions and showing them to your students - June 2022. Presenters: U. Wisconsin SOLIS group

We live in a world mostly surrounded by the familiar states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. But in fact, more than 99% of the visible universe is made of a fourth state of matter called plasma. Plasma can be used for everything from space propulsion to medicine to fluorescent light bulbs, and it may hold the key to humankind’s future energy demand through nuclear fusion. But how can scientists capture plasma ten times hotter than the Sun to create a fusion energy source on Earth? Fusion energy research spans many disciplines, including physics, engineering, computer science, and materials science. In this workshop, you’ll use several hands-on activities to explore the underlying concepts used in fusion research.

Resources and Virtual Presentation - November 2020


Newton’s Second Law and Dusty Plasmas - November 2023
Presenters: Eva Kostadinova, Physics Department, Auburn University and Jeremiah Williams, Physics Department, Wittenberg University

Newton's three laws of motion serve as the foundation for the development of physics. Even with the great advances in modern physics, such as quantum mechanics or relativity, the vast majority of our interactions with the physical world are well described using Newton's laws. One aspect of Newton's laws that is particularly important to both science and engineering is the ability to achieve an equilibrium — a state where the forces acting on the system are balanced. Concepts that will be examined include gravitational forces, electric forces, and drag forces. 

Resources and Slides - November 2023
Slides - June 2022


Unleash the Power of Plasma Science in Your Classroom: Join the PhysicsQuest Plasma Science Pilot - November 2023

The APS PhysicsQuest team sponsored the development of Plasma Science activities for middle school students. They were created by plasma scientists in the field and help students relate and understand what plasma is, how plasma science can help with societal issues, and plasmas in space. The PhysicsQuest program is one of the hallmarks of Public Engagement at the American Physical Society (APS), serving teachers and children across the United States and internationally for almost two decades. The purpose of the program is to engage children in inquiry-based physics activities to demonstrate physics as fun and accessible to all students. Similarly, it aims to empower teachers to teach physics with more student-centered practices in which children experience what it means to do physics and in turn inspire them to continue to pursue careers in science. Since its inception, more than 250,000 free kits have been distributed to classrooms across the country.
PhysicsQuest provides self-contained kits of four hands-on activities on physics-related topics, designed for a middle school audience. Each activity is structured to fit a 45-minute classroom module. While the activities are interconnected through the corresponding physics topic of the year, each can be taught as a standalone activity. For each of the activities we provide: guidelines for children and teachers, explanation of the science, full lesson plans, modifications for implementation with online students and students with learning differences, added resources (videos, simulations, or other tools), connection to science standards and a focus on DEI learning strategies in partnership with the STEP UP Program.

Resources and Slides - November 2023


Coding Integration into High School Physics and Physical Science - June 2022
Presenters: Prof. Chris Orban, Ohio State University Department of Physics

Ever wondered how to integrate a little bit of coding into a high school physics or physical science class without overwhelming your students or taking up lots of class time? This hands on workshop will provide an overview of simple, conceptually-motivated exercises where students construct games like asteroids and angry birds using a free in-browser editor that works great on Chromebooks or whatever devices you have. Importantly, these activities are also described in videos on the STEMcoding youtube channel (http://youtube.com/c/STEMcoding ) for you to review after the workshop or potentially for you to share with your students in class. After working through an introductory activity on kinematics, we will work on a charge repulsion coding activity which helps to explain why scientists use Deuterium and Tritium in fusion experiments instead of Hydrogen. The STEMcoding project is led by Prof. Chris Orban from Ohio State Physics. The STEMcoding project is supported in part by the 2017 AIP Meggers Project Award.

Resources and Virtual Presentation - November 2020

Plasma Science Education Resources