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Physics Teaching Innovation at the new STEM Teaching Building

The new STEM teaching building was dedicated recently with many dignitaries and much emphasis on the critical role of STEM education for the future of the state and country. As the speeches and ribbon cutting were going on outside, Physics faculty were teaching introductory physics using new curricula that take full advantage of the new classrooms in the building. This is a result of a lot of work by many members of the Physics and Astronomy Department, from the earliest days of the building making the case for how physics could make good use of the space, through planning how the classrooms would be designed, to now actually implementing innovative courses in the dramatic new building.

We are teaching new versions of the two main strands of introductory physics course we offer. One of these curricula is for engineering and physical sciences students and is known as P-Cubed, which stands for Projects and Practices in Physics. As the name suggests, this curriculum emphasizes physics practices. The other course in the new building is the physics course for life science majors, and is called Physics at the Molecular and Cellular Level (P@MCL). This combined lecture-lab class integrates molecular and cellular biology applications throughout the course.