Thursday, March 23, 2017

Physics First Starter

Freshman getting data from photo-electric effect apparatus.
       The links below are resources used prior to and during the transition the "Physics First" science sequence at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School.

Timeline:                     
       The key dates during the implementation of the Physics First Sequence at McGill-Toolen.
Introduction to Physics First Presentation  
       This is the presentation used to the staff, administration school board and parents to explain "Physics First".
Action Research:       
        Research prior to, during and after the transition to "Physics First".  The focus is on learning about those programs that were managed well and successful.  We were also tasked to verify that the impact of the new sequence was not having a detrimental impact student outcomes.  In particular the outcomes relating to standardized tests (college entrance scores), Advanced Placement course selection and Advanced Placement Exam performance.
Pamphlet Info:          
        A pamphlet distributed to staff, parents & feeder schools which explained the "Physics First" program.  Introduced the new sequence to parents and new staff members.
Common Questions:  
       Common questions of parents and staff are answers in Q & A format

How Physics is Helpful:  
       A listing of reasons that all students benefit from taking Physics.
Blog Entry:                
       A one entry report on the status of the "Physics First" implementation.

In all the material above it is important to remember that the views expressed by me here, on any website or in any publication do not  represent the views of  
McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, 
Archdiocese of Mobile or any  part of the Universal Catholic Church.
===================================================

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Research and Experiences

ALAAPT14.pdf      Impact on AP, ACT & External Assessments 
   (T. Burgess....Presented at Alabama AAPT Section Meeting 2014)
APNC13Anal.pdf   Impact of Phyics 1st on AP Sciences 
   (T. Burgess....Presented at AP National Conference, Las Vegas 2013)
ReasMath12.pdf    Higher Math & Reasoning Scores Noted 
   (Schuchardt, Malone....Published at NARST Conference)
MTACT12.pdf       Higher ACT Scores as Physics First Implemented 
   (Tim Burgess, Kerry Goff, Rebecca Hyre....McGill-Toolen, Mobile AL)
MTAPEn13.pdf      Higher AP Enrollment & Performance
   (T. Burgess, K. Goff, R. Hyre....McGill-Toolen, Mobile AL)
MTAPBio11.pdf     AP Biology Students Learn More with Less!
   (T. Burgess & K. Goff, McGill-Toolen of  Mobile, AL)
MTChem10.pdf     Chemistry Students with Physics 9 Learn More
   (T Burgess, R. Hyre, K Goff,  McGill-Toolen of  Mobile, AL)
LHSRes10.pdf        Freshman Physics Higher CAT & FCI
   (Craig Bouma, Loyola HS of Los Angeles. Active Physics)
MTRes09.pdf         McGill-Toolen freshman learn more Physics
   (Tim Burgess. Modeling Instruction)
LHSRes08.pdf        Freshman Physics Higher in CA Assessments
   (Craig Bouma, Loyola HS of Los Angeles. Active Physics)
PFMaine09.pdf       Freshman students in Maine learn more Physics
   (M. O’Brien & J. Thompson, TPT. Modeling Instruction)
GoodDiss06.pdf     AP Science enrollment & performance (Brief Summary)
   (J. Goodman, Dissertation defended and accepted Rutgers Univ)
Briarwood08.pdf    Increased interest & performance in science
   (Barry Walker, Briarwood Christian School in Alabama)
RHSRes07.pdf        Increases in AP Science Enrollment
   (Ridley HS near Philadelphia. Modeling Instruction)
MountzD_06.pdf    Increased enrollment in elective advanced sciences
   (D. Mountz, Dissertation for Immaculata University)
LHReport08.pdf     Improved Regents & AP Physics Scores
   (Larry Hiller, New York. Modeling Instruction)
PFPSMath06.pdf    Math Score Improvement (public school)
   (JoAnne Deakin, Arizona. Modeling Instruction)
PFSATMath05.pdf    Math Score Improvement (private school)
   (Howard Glasser, Germantown Friends School. Hewitt text)
Physics1stKS03.pdf   Physics Freshman Exceed Seniors 
   (Earl Legleiter, Kansas. Modeling Instruction)
PFSMReas07.pdf       Improved Science & Math Reasoning
   (Anita Schuchardt, Kathy Malone, et al. Modeling Instruction)
PFAP2007.pdf        Improved AP Science performance
   (Tim Burgess. Modeling Instruction)
NSTAPres08.pdf       Data from National Science Teacher Ass. 2008
   (Several schools near Boston MA. Hewitt or Active Physics)

Research on educational change always have important caveats:   
       Numerous measures effectiveness may not capture the particular strength of a program.  Science tests may fail to detect deeper comprehension.  Tests can fail to recognize skills acquired during genuine science research (one example).
     Outstanding faculty will help students succeed even if the academic program is weak or incoherent.   Providing a logical, coherent and strong academic sequence may help maximize student achievement and deepen comprehension of science. Nothing can replace high quality & dedicated staff.  
        A school may also have aims other than instructional effectiveness.  Schools may, for example, seek to acclimate students to the college experience rather than maximize learning.  A school may focus on developing skills other than the intellectual skills associated with formal academic disciplines.
       The ability, work habits, interests and background of students may have an significant impact the gains associated with any program.  

     Below are some experiences and commentary by Nobel Prize Winners,  leaders and science educators who have experience in the change to "Physics First" sequence starting in high school:

EXPERIENCE
  ClaytonHS1_03.pdf   Commentary by Rex Rice (Science Department Chair)
 Clayton HS2_03.pdf   Biology teachers on impact
 Clayton HS3_03.pdf  Chemistry teachers on impact
 Clayton HS99.pdf      Physics teacher on impact 
 PFPostTB08.pdf        Change and challenge
 FPComp05.pdf           Comments by teachers using new sequence 
  
COMMENTARYANALYSIS, STRATEGIES
PF02088.pdf              Recommendations from ARISE Conference 2002
PFRightUp05.pdf      TPT editorial by Ewald, Hickman & Myers
PTEC-07.pdf             PTEC Presentation by Paul Hickman
PFHakeJP06.pdf      American Assn. of Physics Teachers Brochure
HakeJP06.pdf           Science educator scholarly analysis
NobelPWLL01.pdf  Comments by Nobel Prize Winner
PFRice90.pdf           Comments by leader before change
AAPTFlyer06.pdf    American Assn. of Physics Teachers
JChEdPF02.pdf       Journal of Chem. Education article
BSCSCap.pdf           Biological Sciences Study Committee

=======================================
I am a lifetime member of the
The success we had with "Physics First"
in my opinion was (at least in part)
due to the training our teachers obtained in
"Modeling as a way of teaching science."
========================================
One external indicator of success in Physics
in interscholastic competition....
Alabama Physics Competition Performance
prior to and since Physics First
Typical: 250-330 students compete with 50-70 teams of 4
top 10 individual students recognized with "Top Individual Awards"
Top 3 teams recognized in 3 different divisions

"Physics First"was implemented starting in the 
2008-9 school year.
Written records of McGill-Toolen participation in the
 University of Alabama High School Physics Competition
starts in 2001.


2001-8                     McGill-Toolen participated but had never had
                                    a team or individual winner at the competition

2008-11                    McGill-Toolen transitions to "Physics First"
                           
2012 Winner          A McGill-Toolen Physics Student wins 
                                   "Top Individual Honors"
                                    & Full 4 Year Scholarship for 1st time ever
                                   for McGill-Toolen Catholic High School!

2012                           First Graduating Class with sequence 2011-12  
                                     
2013 Winners         Physics Teams from McGill-Toolen
                                     Win 1st & 2nd over ALL Teams in all divisions&                 
                                      School Wins First among ALL schools &
                                      Top Ranked Individual from McGill-Toolen!
2014 Winners         School and Team 1st among ALL schools in 2014!
                                         Two Top Individual Awards from McGill-Toolen
2015 Team Win     School & Team Winners in 2015 from McGill-Toolen
2016 Team Win     School & Team Winners in 2016 from McGill-Toolen
                                          First ever all female team to win overall (3rd Place)
2017 Team Win     School & Team Winners in 2017! 
                                     5 CONSECUTIVE YEARS!



In all the material above it is important to remember that the views expressed by me here, on any website or in any publication do not  represent the views of  
McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, 
Archdiocese of Mobile or any  part of the Universal Catholic Church.
===================================================




  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Physics Team Victory in 2017!

       Since fully implementing Physics First in 2012 the Physics Team from McGill-Toolen has won 3rd place or higher among all schools at the regional (multi-state attended) University of Alabama High School Physics Competition (over the 5 of 6 years since). McGill-Toolen has won first in their division for 5 consecutive years.  Prior to the implementation of Physics First the school had participated but never won at the competition.
       All the Physics First classes were initially taught with Physics teachers trained in modeling.  Presently ALL of the Physics Team members on the winning teams (all past and present) went through the modeling based Honors Physics class as freshman (no exceptions in 5 years).  Five team members won individual medals (and qualified for a scholarship) in the last six years.
University of Alabama Ferguson Center 
in TUSCALOOSA, AL 
UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA HIGH SCHOOL PHYSICS COMPETITION
January 27, 2017

        McGill-Toolen Catholic High School took part in the 41st annual University of Alabama High School Physics Competition at the Ferguson Center on Friday January 26th, 2017 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. There were more than 70 teams and 300 of the best senior level physics students from schools in Alabama and Mississippi.  The McGill-Toolen A-Team won first place in the Private School division and third place over all teams in all divisions.   McGill-Toolen was also awarded 3rd Place among all Schools in all divisions.
        The day of the competition began with a mass at Holy Spirit Parish in Tuscaloosa.   An hour later grueling individual physics tests were taken.  After the individual exams Dr. Keel (a competition sponsor) invited the McGill-Toolen Physics Team to look at sunspots seen forming through a solar viewer set up by the window in the Ferguson Center.  Soon afterward was the team cipher that lasted an hour and a half in the Ferguson Center ballroom.
        Teams are placed in divisions of small public schools, large public schools, private schools and science-math magnet schools. All divisions do the same problems at the same time and are rated based on correct answer and time of response.
        The McGill-Toolen A Team consisted of juniors Peter McDonald Patrick Spafford, Marvin Collins and Gus Grow.   This team was awarded first place in the "Private School Division" and won 3rd place among all schools in all divisions.  This is the 5th consecutive year that the McGill-Toolen A-Team has placed 1st in the Private School Division.  It is also the 5th consecutive year that the Physics Team has placed as one of the top three teams over all teams in all divisions at the competition.
       The C-Team won 3rd place in the Private School Division" and included sophomores Bekah Burgess, Findlay Maier, Mary Alice Jouves and freshman Buddy Arensberg.
        McGill-Toolen Catholic High School also won 3rd Place among all Schools in all divisions.  This is the fifth consecutive year that McGill-Toolen has placed among the top three schools among all schools at the competition.  Competitors representing McGill-Toolen Catholic High School included senior Josh Maier, juniors Peter McDonald,  Patrick Spafford, Marvin Collins and Gus Grow, sophomores Bekah Burgess, Mary Alice Jouves, Joseph Keegan, Nicholas Johnston.and freshman Murphy Douglas and Buddy Arensberg
         Perfect team competition rounds (correctly answering all 4 presented physics problems correctly in 40 seconds or less). Perfect team rounds were posted by Peter McDonald, Marvin Collins and Patrick Spafford.

Competition Action:
        The McGill-Toolen A-Team got off to a rough start and actually fell off the leader board for 3 of the 16 rounds for the first time in 5 years.  One always wonders how a team will respond to such adversity and our McGill-Toolen Competitors showed great composure, focus, persistence and skill as the McGill-Toolen A-Team roared back to the top of the "leader board".   Three consecutive A-Team competitors posted all perfect rounds (kudos to Marvin Collins, Patrick Spafford & Peter McDonald) in a breathtaking run of 12 consecutive perfect rounds (correct answers in the shortest possible time).   The McGill-Toolen A-Team went on to win an undisputed 1st Place in the Private School Division  (so I lose my hair again).  The A-Team tied with Oak Mountain and Auburn High Schools for 1st Place overall team in all divisions.  The McGill-Toolen A-Team was assigned 3rd place over all teams based on scholarship exam score tiebreaker  (Oak Mountain 73- McGill-Toolen 70- Auburn-70)

       The Award Ceremony is normally just a confirmation of what the scoreboard was at the end of the Cypher Competition.  This year was different and the ceremony was full of tension and excitement because tie breaks (individual exam scores) had to be used so often.  Our A-Team lost in a three-way tiebreaker to Auburn High School and Oak Mountain High School (all three teams scored 70 points) and was awarded 3rd place over all teams in all divisions.

       In our division the McGill-Toolen B-Team lost a 2nd place tie breaker with Indian Springs.  Our C-Team had the 3rd highest score in the division but was not awarded a placement. (McGill-Toolen 70, Indian Springs 43, McGill-Toolen B 43, McGill-Toolen C 40)

       Many schools do not come if they do not "project" winning so only the best programs show up on any given year.  This makes every year a struggle for those who come.
       After the competition and lunch there was a "Physicist Seminar" where Physicists in the workplace answer questions from students.  Then there was a Physics Demonstration show (which students always enjoy) and finally the Award Ceremony.
      Physics Team moderator Dr. Tim Burgess (McGill-Toolen Science Chair) noted "The talent and dedication of this team was extraordinary. This amazing performance is an accomplishment rare for any school from any region. Such consistency over half a decade occurs for only the very best of programs and speaks volumes about our students, their parents and our community."

      The McGill-Toolen performance is the direct result of the extraordinary talent, capability and work ethic of our very special students. The emphasis of McGill-Toolen in recent years on the synergistic relationship between faith and science has laid the ground work for the accomplishments of our outstanding science students. Success also springs from the support of our community as displayed in the fabulous facilities and resources our students enjoy while doing scientific reasoning day in and day out in the class room. Success is only possible with parental and community support!"


Comments:
       Dr. Burgess stated "Physics is the gateway discipline to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics careers.  The amazing performance of our Physics Competitors in winning at statewide says something substantial about the preparation our students are getting in STEM related courses.  Students who learn to genuinely reason in science will certainly nurture more career options (including STEM careers) AND also develop a deep and vibrant faith.  Our success also springs from the support of our community as displayed in the fabulous facilities and resources our students enjoy while doing scientific reasoning day in and day out in the class room.  Success, as we had these last four years, is only possible with community support and we are very grateful!"


==================================
In all the material above it is important to remember that the views expressed by me here, on any website or in any publication 
do not  represent the views of  McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, 
Archdiocese of Mobile or any  part of the Universal Catholic Church.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Physics Team Championship in 2016!

      McGill-Toolen Catholic High School took part in the 40th annual University of Alabama High School Physics Competition at the Ferguson Student Center on Friday January 29, 2016 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  The competition had more than 22 public, private and magnet schools registered, 34 teams posted and more than 307 registered physics students (mostly seniors) from schools in Mississippi and Alabama vying for trophies, awards, medals and scholarships.  This high stakes Physics competition is the oldest, longest running and most prestigious Physics competition in the region and annually attracts the highest quality science programs and the best students in the southeast region of the United States.  
     The Jackets won 1st in the Private School Division and also 2nd Place in the Private School Division with an all female C-Team.  The McGill-Toolen A-Team when into an overtime "Blitz" to take 1st Place Overall Teams in all divisions (Public, Private and Math Science Magnet Schools.)  The all female McGill-Toolen C-Team won 2nd Place in the Private School Division and 3rd Place among all teams in all divisions.  Finally McGill-Toolen Catholic High School was designated (based on team and individual scores) as 1st Place among all schools in all division.  This is the third time in four years that McGill-Toolen has placed 1st over all schools and among all teams in all divisions of this multi-state competition!
     McGill-Toolen Catholic High School became part of a new history at the competition this year in 3 different ways.  No team had ever obtained a perfect score in the 40 years of the competition.  This year McGill-Toolen AND Straughn High School earned the highest possible scores by answering every question correctly in 40 seconds or less over 16 rounds.  The McGill-Toolen C-Team, composed of all females, missed only 1 question and won 3rd place over all schools in all divisions.  Finally in the first ever "overtime", to determine the overall winner of the competition, McGill-Toolen and Straughn High School were pitted in a head to head "Blitz" of 4 questions with each team member required to answer one question each.  McGill-Toolen won by answering all questions correctly in the minimum 40 seconds.
      The McGill-Toolen Physics Team attained a rare "four-peat championship" by taking 1st Place in the Private School Division.   The A-Team and C-Team won 1st Place AND 2nd Place in a division which typically has the highest average scores of all divisions.  McGill-Toolen also won 1st Place AND 3rd place over all schools in all divisions (Public, Private and Magnet Schools).  The McGill-Toolen Physics Team had eight competitors with perfect team rounds!
        On Thursday (January 28) three teams of competitors from McGill-Toolen departed McGill-Toolen and stayed the evening in Tuscaloosa.   That evening they attended a talk on nano-materials and went to the observatory to view Orion's nebula.  The next day (Friday January 29) began with a mass at Holy Spirit Parish in Tuscaloosa at 6:45 AM.  At the close of the mass Fr. Jeremiah Deasy (the celebrant) recognized the team.  An hour later in the Ferguson Center grueling individual physics tests were taken by the competitors for over an hour.  Then there was a "Team Cipher" competition in which teams have representatives answering physics questions in a time pressured format in public view with results posted on large screens for viewing as the problems were solved.  The "Ciphering" lasted until 11:44 AM.  Then an overtime "Blitz" session pitted the McGill-Toolen A-Team against Straughn High School to determine the overall winner.
     A seminar (with physicists who are employed), physics show and awards ceremony followed that afternoon in The Ferguson Center Auditorium.
     The McGill-Toolen Physics Team consisted veteran competitors Chris McDonald (senior), Connor Kusch (senior), Patrick Spafford (sophomore), Peter McDonald (sophomore) and Claire Powers (junior).  Rookie competitors included Marvin Johnson (senior) and freshman Findaly Maier, Bekah Burgess,  Alayna Mickles Caroline Zitnik and Joseph Keegan.  The team escorts included Mr. Tom Mcdonald, Caroline McDonald, Mrs. Theresa Burgess and the Phsyics Team moderator Dr. Tim Burgess

Team Performance and Honors
     Teams are placed in divisions of public schools, private schools and science-math magnet schools. All divisions do the same problems at the same time and are rated based on correct answer and time of response.
     McGill-Toolen A-Team earned a perfect score of 80 points in the regular rounds and a garnered a perfect 20 points in the "overtime blitz rounds" for the highest scores in the Private School Division and over all teams in all divisions.  The McGill-Toolen C-Team with all females had the second highest score in the "Private Schools Division" (75 points) and were awarded both 3rd Place among all schools in all divisions.
    Private School Division Team Results (based on latest scoreboard photos):
         1st  Place              McGill-Toolen A-Team                    80 points
         2nd Place              McGill-Toolen C-Team                    75 points
         3rd Place              Indian Springs School A-Team           66 points
         4th Place              McGill-Toolen B-Team                     63 points

    McGill-Toolen A-Team had the highest scores overall schools in all divisions (including overtime blitz scores) of 120 points.
    Overall School Divisions Team Results (based on latest scoreboard photos):
         1st Place                        McGill-Toolen A-Team           100 points
         2nd Place                       Straughn High School                 95 points
         3rd Place                        McGill-Toolen C-Team            75 points

   Division High Scores:
     1st Regular School Division Teams:  Ranburne C                           70 points
     1st  Private School Division Teams: McGill-Toolen                    100 points*
     1st Large Public School Division Teams:  Straughn                       95 points*
     1st Science Magnet Schools:  Mississippi Math & Science            71 points
[*Overtime Biltz scores added to regular cipher scores.]

     "Perfect Rounds" are earned by correctly answering all 4 presented physics problems correctly in 40 seconds or less. Perfect team rounds were posted by , Connor Kusch (senior), Chris McDonald (senior), Patrick Spafford (sophomore), Peter McDonald (sophomore), Claire Powers (junior), Alayna Mickles (freshman), Caroline Zitnik (freshman) and Findlay Maier (freshman).  Bekah Burgess (freshman( was part of the historic all female McGill-Toolen C-Team.  Marvin Johnson (sophomore), Gus Grow (sophomore) and Joseph Keegan (freshman) were members of the McGill-Toolen B-Team that took 4th place in the private school division.

School Honors:
     McGill-Toolen Catholic High School was awarded 1st Place among all Schools in all divisions (among public, private and magnet schools) in 2016.  This is the third consecutive year that McGill-Toolen has placed 1st or 2nd among all schools in all divisions.
     School Awards over all divisions:
       1st Place: McGill-Toolen
       2nd Place: Straughn
       3rd Place: Mississippi School of Math and Science

Other Activities:
     Dr. Tim Burgess was awarded the "2016 E. Scott Barr Physics Teaching Award" in 2016.  This award is the most prestigious Physics Teaching Award in the southeast United States. This is the first time that the award has been provided to a teacher for the second time (Tim Burgess won the same award in 1992).

Comments:
     Physics Team moderator Dr. Tim Burgess (McGill-Toolen Science Chair) noted "The competition this year was fierce.  Our competitors showed amazing character as they engaged the first ever overtime "Blitz" and defeated another team that also had a 16 round perfect score.  This is the fourth consecutive Private School Championship which is rare for any school in any division!  McGill-Toolen Catholic High School Physics Team has also won 1st Place among all teams and all schools in all division in 3 of the last 4 years.  This is an incredible accomplishment for our students!"
       Dr. Burgess continued "Physics is the gateway discipline to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics careers.  The amazing performance of our Physics Competitors in winning at statewide says something substantial about the preparation our students are getting in STEM related courses.  Students who learn to genuinely reason in science will certainly nurture more career options (including STEM careers) AND also develop a deep and vibrant faith.  Our success also springs from the support of our community as displayed in the fabulous facilities and resources our students enjoy while doing scientific reasoning day in and day out in the class room.  Success, as we had these last four years, is only possible with community support and we are very grateful!"


1st in Private Schools and 1st Over all schools in All Divisions
McGill-Toolen A-Team: Connor Kusch, Chris McDonald, 
Peter McDonald & Patrick Spafford

2nd Place Private Schools & 3rd Place Overall Teams in All Divisions
McGill-Toolen C-Team: Carline Zitnik, Alayna Mickles, 
Claire Powers & Bekah Burgess

1st Place Among All Schools in All Divisions
   Patrick Spafford, Peter McDonald, Chris McDonald, Connor Kusch, Findlay Maier,   Joseph Keegan, Gus Grow, Marvin Collins, Alayna Mickles, Bekah Burgess, Caroline Zitnik, Claire Powers


In all the material above it is important to remember that the views expressed by me here, on any website or in any publication do not  represent the views of  
McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, 
Archdiocese of Mobile or any  part of the Universal Catholic Church.
===================================================

==================================
In all the material above it is important to remember that the views expressed by me here, on any website or in any publication 
do not  represent the views of  McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, 
Archdiocese of Mobile or any  part of the Universal Catholic Church.