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Physics Teacher SOS
       If you're a new teacher or maybe contemplating a career teaching physics, or possibly new to teaching physics, or even a veteran teacher looking to learn some new tricks of the trade to revitalize your curriculum, I encourage you to attend one of 4, day-long Physics Teacher SOS (PTSOS) workshops. You'll meet other like teachers from all over Northern California to interact and network with. The workshops are very informative and a lot of fun, and thanks to a generous grant from the Brown Foundation, they are absolutely FREE! Contact me ( or our PTSOS Outreach Coordinator Val Monticue ( for more information. You can also visit our website at

* Teachers at San Mateo PTSOS#2, Jan 22, 2011, Giving Physics a Whirl! VIDEO
* See Pictures of the January 22, 2011 Workshop PHOTOS
* See Pictures of the January 31, 2009 Workshop PHOTOS
* Check out our 2009 attendees doing the "Flying Pig" VIDEO
* Van de Graaff Fun at PTSOS Spring 2009 VIDEO

For information on the 2017-2018 workshops go to
PTSOS--Vision and Overview, by Paul Robinson
PTSOS-AAPT-2009.ppt (Powerpoint) | PTSOS-AAPT-2009.pdf (Adobe Reader)


Northern California/Nevada American Association of Physics Teachers
Next Meeting -- City College of San Francisco, November 14-15, 2014

NCNAAPT Meeting, April 12, 2014
Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA
Invited Talks and Presentations

Chaired by David Kagan (

Vernier Software & Technology - Past, Present and Future
by David and Christine Vernier (

Mission: Mars - Steps Toward the First Human Mission to the Red Planet
by Pascal Lee (

Einstein and Quantum Mechanics - It's Not What You Think
by A. Douglas Stone (


Mission: Mars
by Pascal Lee
       Learn about what it takes to send humans to Mars--from spacesuits and rovers to surviving subzero temperatures and raging dust storms.
read review] [buy on Amazon]


Einstein and the Quantum: The Quest of the Valiant Swabian
by A. Douglas Stone
       Stone shows how Einstein's ideas animated the development of quantum mechanics from its infancy through its first quarter century.
read review] [buy on Amazon]


A Sad Day in the Neighborhood
Paul Doherty, the Exploratorium's beloved senior scientist, dies at age 69.

Paul Doherty dies at age 69

Paul, in his own words (Youtube)

Celebrating the life of Paul Doherty (video)

- Dave Kagan's website, Department of Physics, CSU, Chico:
     "An Inexpensive Magnus Force Demonstrator"
     "Happy and Sad Balls and Newton's Cradle"
     "Radioactive Learning: Visual Representation of Radioactive Decay Using Dice"
     "Gaussain Accelerators"
     "Soda Cans 'All Shook Up'"

- Dan Burns Cartoon Physics

Road Runner Physics, by Dan Burns:

Science on the Simpsons, by Dan Burns:



- Super SMHS Teacher, Sally Seebode, Helps Discover Supernova:

Lab Manuals
Contemporary College Physics Laboratory Manual with Computer Activities (out of print) published in 1991 by Addison-Wesley to accompany Jones & Childers, Sears & Zemansky, and
Bueche texts.
       Coming soon . . .
              • Conceptual Physics, 11e, College Edition, © 2010
              • Conceptual Physics, 4e for High Schools, © 2009
              • Conceptual Physics, 10e, College Edition, © 2006

"Suggested Sequence of Activities & Labs for Projectile Motion"


"Hang Time" activity--described on the last page of Chapter 3 of Hewitt, 4e (white).


"Reaction Time", lab activity from Conceptual Physics Lab Manual


Conceptual Physics Worksheet 4-1 (4 pages)


Conceptual Physics Worksheet 5-1 (2 pages)


"Dropped or Fired Bullet"--demonstration apparatus from Cenco, Cat# WL-0877


"Dropped or Fired Bullet" (from MythBusters)--video from my website (Videos page)


"Rock Off a Cliff", activity from my website (also on my Student Resources page)


"Bull's Eye" lab activity from Conceptual Physics Lab Manual


"Tangent Method"--how to construct an angle without a protractor


"Anatomy of a Homer" lab activity Conceptual Physics Lab Manual


For AP Physics Students Only: "Sharp Shooter", from Laboratory Manual with Computer Activities, John Wiley (1991).

- Advice to New Teachers: "Increasing Your Impact" (PDF)

- How to Introduce Students to Your Text: "Getting to Know Your Textbook" (PDF)

- "Put Me in Coach"--The Physics of Baseball: SF2011.ppt | SF2011.pdf

- Squashed Salute: Chico State University Pumpkin Drop Honors Leader:
  Pumpkin Drop Video:

- Paul Falstad's Simulations:

- "Physics of Car Crashes" Study Guide: PhysicsofCarCrash.pdf

- A great Optics website by Clarence Bakken: Optics Bookshelf

Bull's Eye Ramp: Information and MATH CHECKER 

- "Next-Time Questions" by Paul Hewitt. Challenging and fascinating questions that will spark interest and discussion amongst your students.

- Derivation of Exchange of Velocities:
ExchangeofVelocities.ppt | ExchangeofVelocities.pdf

- Derivation of the Relative Velocity of Approach Equals the
  Velocity of Recession

- Generalized Case of the Elastic Collision of Two Bodies:

- Periods of Satellites Around and Through the Earth:
PeriodsofSatellites_v2.ppt | PeriodsofSatellites_v2.pdf

- Kinetic Theory of Gases: KineticTheory_Gases.pdf

- Pepper's Ghost 

- Derivation of the Rydberg Constant:
DerivationRydbergConstant.ppt | DerivationRydbergConstant.pdf

- Derivation of E=mc^2:
E=mc^2_Derivation2.ppt | E=mc^2_Derivation2.pdf

- Space-Time Simulator, by Dan Burns: Spacetimesimulator.pdf

- Labs (more coming...)
          • Sticky Electrostatics:
          • Temperature of a Flame:
          • Reaction Time:
          • Anatomy of a Homer:
          • LN Cool Stuff:
          • Flying Pig:
          • Why The Sky is Blue:

- Related Links
          • PTSOS:
          • NCN AAPT:
          • AAPT:
          • NSTA:
          • CSTA:
          • Cenco Physics Blog:
          • California High School Physics Standards:

- Related Videos
          • Large Hadron Collider (LHC):
ATLAS Experiment - The Latest News at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)
          • Frames of Reference Video Online:
          • A Million to One:

- Films of Interest
          • My Favorite Movies
2001--A Space Odyssey Study Guide--SE.pdf
2001--A Space Odyssey Study Guide--TE.pdf (Teachers please email me for password.)
Survivability of the Vacuum of Space (external webpage)
Apollo 13 Study Guide--SE.pdf
Apollo 13 Study Guide--TE.pdf (Teachers please email me for password.)
Elegant Universe Questionaire.pdf
Right Stuff Questions.pdf
Dr. Zhivago (A Classic)
Tale of Two Cities

- NASA Rates the Most Realistic and Unrealistic Sci-Fi Films of All Time:

- Video Clips (see Videos page)

- Activities (coming soon)

- Casio EX F1 Digital Camera User Manual: CasioEXF1_Manual.pdf

Returning Sanity to the Classroom-Eliminating the Testing Mania
by Horace (Rog) Lucido
You can find Rog's new book
HERE (publisher) and HERE (Amazon)

Educational Genocide-A Plague on our Children
by Horace (Rog) Lucido
Common Core Exposed PowerPoint/Movie
by Horace (Rog) Lucido
For more info, see Rog's Blog:

Check out Rog's
FACEBOOK PAGE for succinct commentary on the key elements of both books.

- CA STAR Test, 2009 Released Physics Questions: