Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) is now providing the first in a new series of in-class, educational resources designed to help teachers introduce and guide students through a variety of topics in physics.
The first module, The Mystery of Dark Matter, features a 25-minute DVD and Teacher’s Guide, complete with Student Activities. The full kit can be viewed online and is available, for teachers, in a free hard-copy format.
Creative and Custom Designed
Described by celebrated scientist Vera Rubin as “… imaginative, artistic and scientifically valid,” Perimeter Explorations fulfills the number one request from hundreds of high school teachers who attend the Institute’s popular EinsteinPlus Workshops on Modern Physics – to receive PI’s lessons in a flexible, comprehensive and simple format that can be used in classroom settings.
John Matlock, Director of External Relations and Outreach, says, “It was clear that educators desired content related to curricula, but at the leading edge of scientific knowledge. They also want to challenge their students with deep concepts, abstract ideas, and mathematical formulas in highly visual ways. Finally, we’ve long known that students can really benefit through engaging with researchers who probe, question, and postulate new ideas. This first module brings all of these elements together and was created from the ground up as an in-class resource for educators.”
Shedding Light on Dark Matter
Over the last few decades, physicists have discovered that around ninety percent of every galaxy in the universe is made of an unseen substance called “dark matter.” Damian Pope, PI’s Senior Manager of Scientific Outreach, comments, “It’s currently one of the hottest topics in physics. The module provides teachers with tools to show how dark matter was discovered, to explain why it remains a mystery, and to share the passion of scientists who are trying to discover what it’s made of.”
Over 100 educators and researchers contributed to the new in-class resource, “which is designed with both expert and novice educators in mind,” says Dr. Pope. Teachers can edit the student worksheets found in the module to tailor them to individual classes. The module also takes viewers inside various research locations, including Canada’s Perimeter Institute, as well as SNOLAB, an underground laboratory located in Sudbury, Ontario. The full resource includes:
- DVD – with state-of-the-art animation and indexed chapters to stop/start as required
- Suggested Ways to Use the Module – possible lesson outlines
- Curriculum Links – commonly taught topics related to dark matter
- Student Activities – hands-on demonstrations and mathematical appendices
- Dark Side of the Universe – introductory article about dark matter
Available to view and order online
This first edition in the Perimeter Explorations series is being unveiled to science educators, communicators, and policy makers at two events in February 2008. This will include a workshop by Max Tegmark of MIT, Damian Pope of PI, and John Matlock of PI at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual General Meeting in Boston, as well as a special ceremony in Toronto with Canada’s largest school system, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). The module is now available to view online at Perimeter Institute’s website where free copies (for teachers only) of ‘The Mystery of Dark Matter’, can be ordered while quantities last.
Future modules will include lessons on Black Holes, Quantum Mechanics, and other hot topics in modern physics. The Institute also provides a full suite of outreach programs including student camps (see ISSYP), teacher workshops (see EinsteinPlus), and the popular PI Public Lecture Series, with playbacks available online.