What Hath Biology To Do With Physics?

In contemporary schools we often imagine that all the natural sciences fit neatly together. Casual observers sometimes assume that the scientific approach offers a simple methodology which must only be applied in each subject. But woe to the headmaster who asks a young biology teacher to tackle a senior physics class or requests a physics teacher to handle the fetal pigs. It turns out that these disciplines are very different creatures. One subject deals in dissections and the other with derivatives. So what hath biology to do with physics? Come and find out how a return to Aristotle’s principles can simplify and help organize your school’s vision across the natural sciences as well as begin to reintegrate them with the humanities.

Ravi Jain

Ravi Jain graduated from Davidson College as a pre-med, political science major having also served as a teaching assistant in physics and ancient Greek. He worked at various churches before receiving an M.A. from Reformed Theological Seminary. He has been teaching AP Calculus and AP Physics at the Geneva School since 2003. During this tenure he has sought to understand and champion the role of math and science in a Christian Classical curriculum. Over the past four years he has had the opportunity to deliver over 35 talks or workshops on these topics at various schools and conferences across the country. Ravi is the co-author (along with Kevin Clark) of a new book on classical education called The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosphy of Christian Classical Education, published by Classical Academic Press.

The Rhetoric of Physics

Why would you want to analyze how scientists write…. don’t they just report their hypotheses and experimental results? Not at all, argues Alan Gross; beneath the veneer of objectivity resides a fierce struggle to gain followers for a particular viewpoint or to claim precedence for a discovery. How scientists go about convincing their contemporaries, and controlling them via peer review, is an integral part of developing consensus. Many physics instructors in high schools believe that rhetoric ought to be a part of high school science. In this seminar, we shall look at the process of rhetoric in science and how to motivate students to think about science (and how to think), and how they then communicate their convictions into academic arguments.

Paul Ziegler

Paul Ziegler is a math and physics teacher at Trinity Academy of Raleigh. A teacher for forty years, Mr. Ziegler still enjoys the profession, the students, and the challenge of finding new ways to empower students to think independently.

Better Physics Experiments: Cheap, Fun and Solid

While laboratory experiments in biology routinely capture students’ imaginations, traditional workbook experiments in physics can be very frustrating. Equipment tends to work poorly, equipment costs can be high, students have a hard time understanding the artificial equipment, and students often are not enthusiastic about the dreary experiments. In this workshop we will review a number of novel experiments that do not use traditional physics lab apparatus. These activities are fun and memorable, generally inexpensive and are technically rigorous. Experiments appropriate for students in both ninth and twelfth grade will be presented.

John Mays

After receiving his BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University, John spent 14 years in industry in engineering and engineering management. Being vocationally drawn toward the field of education, he completed an MEd in Secondary Education form the University of Houston in 1989, and subsequently completed 36 hours of graduate study in Physics at Texas A&M. Shortly after joining the faculty at Regents School of Austin in 1999, Mr. Mays began work on a MLA at St. Edward's University, which he completed in 2003. Mr Mays served as the Math-Science Department Chair at Regents School from 2001 until 2009 and is the author of Teaching Science so that Students Learn Science, and The Student Lab Report Handbook. He continues to teach physics and mathematics at Regents School of Austin and to develop the Laser Optics Lab there.

The Rhetoric of Science

This seminar will share rhetorical practices that can be used successfully in upper school science classes and briefly examine the rhetoric used by scientists.

Paul Ziegler

Paul Ziegler is a math and physics teacher at Trinity Academy of Raleigh. A teacher for forty years, Mr. Ziegler still enjoys the profession, the students, and the challenge of finding new ways to empower students to think independently.