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Idaho State University physics to host particle physics workshop June 6-10 to train secondary education teachers

May 31, 2016

POCATELLO – Secondary educations teachers from throughout the western United States are gathering at Idaho State University June 6-10 to learn about particle physics so they can better teach the fundamentals science to their students.

The teachers are participating in QuarkNet 2016 Associate Teacher Institute, a professional development program funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy, which is offered at ISU by the Department of Physics. 

The institute is a one-week residential where teachers will have the opportunity to work with physicists with the goal of transferring that experience to the classroom for the benefit of their students. 

 “Idaho State University holds a unique place among western universities,” said Steve Shropshire, ISU physics professor and institute director. “ISU’s physics program boasts close ties with the Idaho National Laboratory, the Idaho Accelerator Center and other ISU research centers. These ties provide the opportunity to do cutting-edge research in related areas. This institute allows us to share our knowledge with teachers, so they can better teach the fundamental principles of physics to their students.” 

When they leave the camp, each teacher is loaned a particle detector system that they can use at their schools to involve students in cosmic ray experiments in collaboration with hundreds of other classrooms across the United States and with scientists at national labs. 

One or two teachers each year spend also spend one to two weeks for additional research experience at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory at Batavia, Illinois, or CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research located near Geneva, Switzerland.

 “We’ve offered this program for years and received great feedback,” Shropshire said. “Loaning the particle detector systems and allowing students to participate in cosmic-ray experiments has been very popular and it is an effective way to get students excited about a STEM field.”