Living Physics Professional Community Workshop



Notice: This workshop has been cancelled. Please join the Living Physics Portal mailing list for news about other upcoming events, or indicate your interest in joining a virtual Curriculum Swap working group.

More information about the Curriculum Swap groups:
We are developing small working groups of faculty committed to innovative teaching within introductory physics courses for life science students.  Here educators share and get feedback on classroom activities, and hear about others’ innovative materials. These small groups of 6-12 educators collaborate and discuss together for a short-period of time (<3 months). If you are interested and willing, we would like you to join one of these small communities (or working groups).  The activities of these communities would inform the development of the Living Physics Portal (NSF project #1624185). Some of the central activities that we envision for these communities include:

  • presenting examples of in-class tasks that members have developed or adapted

  • describing how such tasks were implemented and the task’s driving purpose

  • reacting to video clips of instructors implementing IPLS tasks or students reasoning through IPLS tasks

  • weighing in on design decisions that present themselves within the Living Physics Portal design process.

The activities of this community would also be flexible as we hope that this space meets your own needs and concerns.

These groups will meet for ~1.5 hour long online video conference calls twice monthly over a 1-3 month period during this academic year.  If you are willing and interested in participating, please fill out this short interest form.


Friday-Saturday, November 16th – 17th, 2018
Swarthmore College, PA
Science Center
Registration closed on November 1, 2018

We invite all highly-engaged physics educators, laboratory managers, and interested colleagues to attend this special workshop. Community college faculty and staff are especially encouraged to attend. Participation with a group from your home institution is enthusiastically welcomed! The goals of the workshop are to:

  1. Enable and excite participants to (a) make curricular or lab changes, (b) focus on students’ experiences and learning, and (c) make physics personally meaningful and coherent with students’ other STEM knowledge.
  2. Build local and regional communities of highly-engaged physics educators to communicate about instructional, curricular, or laboratory changes.
  3. Familiarize participants with (a) specific curricular and lab examples of developments in introductory physics for life scientists (IPLS) courses, and (b) using the Living Physics Portal to share resources and collaborate with other physics educators.

While this workshop focuses on the interests of life science students, the emphases of student-centered instructional practices and collaborative course or lab transformation make this workshop appropriate for educators working in general introductory physics courses.

Please complete registration for this event and submit payment of $75.00 below. You may indicate whether you have financial need on the registration form and you will be contacted by a workshop leader. Registration cost covers meals (dinner Friday, breakfast & lunch Saturday), snacks, and printed workshop materials.

Registration is closed.

Participation is capped at 30 people. Please register by November 1 to ensure sufficient participation to run the workshop. Until a critical mass of participants have registered for the workshop, there is a chance the workshop will be cancelled.

The workshop schedule and description of activities can be found here.

Information about travel and lodging can be found here.

We look forward to spending this time with you focused on extending instructional skills and improving the quality of physics education!

Your workshop leaders,

Mary Chessey
Catherine Crouch
Ben Geller
Mary Ann Klassen
Chandra Turpen

From Swarthmore College and University of Maryland College Park

The Living Physics Portal project is supported by funds from the National Science Foundation (award # 1624185). The grant covers the cost of workshop development, facilitation, and research into participants’ learning. Registration cost covers food for participants and printed workshop materials.

Payment options ($75.00) include providing credit card information securely online through the registration form or by phone by calling Mary Chessey at 301-405-6142 between 10am-6pm ET weekdays. You may also mail a check payable to “University of Maryland” to Mary Chessey, Department of Physics, 4150 Campus Dr, College Park, MD 20742-4111.

This workshop is hosted by the Swarthmore College, Physics & Astronomy Department in collaboration with members of the University of Maryland College Park, Department of Physics.

For more information, contact Dr. Mary Chessey by email at