Resources and community for teaching physics for life sciences


Workshop W23: "Activities from the Living Physics Portal" at AAPT Virtual Summer Meeting 2020

July 24, 2020 from 1:00pm - 5:00pm Eastern Time
AAPT Virtual Summer Meeting

Workshop W23: Activities from the Living Physics Portal
Date: July 24, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EST)
Location: Zoom (link provided a few days before the workshop)

Organizers: Nancy Beverly, Nancy Donaldson, Mark Reeves, Adrian Madsen, and Stephanie Williams

Join other highly engaged physics instructors in exploring, re-thinking and adapting introductory physics activities and assignments for health science and life science students to emphasize interdisciplinary connections. Participants will be exposed to practical changes they can implement at their home institutions that put students’ experiences at the center of classroom interactions. Participants will join a growing network of physics instructors who share curricular materials and troubleshoot instructional challenges through the Living Physics Portal. Participants will use the Portal to share resources and collaborate with other physics educators. Instructors, lab managers, & community college faculty and those with varying degrees of familiarity with physics for life scientists or active learning are welcome! The goals of the workshop are to 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.


  • Introduction
  • Experience the curriculum: Biomechanics activity with Nancy Beverly
  • Experience the curriculum: Physics of the Respiratory System activity with Nancy Donaldson
  • Student panel discussing experiences in interdisciplinary physics courses
  • Break (20 minutes, about 2:45pm EDT)
  • Experience the curriculum: Diffusion experiment with Mark Reeves
  • Discussion: adapting materials
  • Living Physics Portal- introduction and search for your own activities 
  • Planning for local change efforts 
  • Closing 


Diffusive Transport

Instructor supplement, Clicker question, Lecture materials, In-class activity, Homework, Lab, Exam problem

Diffusion moves molecules with no energy cost, but it's slow and indirect.

Material Flow, Healthy Cardiovascular Function, Animal Respiratory Variations

Probability Density, Binomial Distribution, Gaussian Distribution

+ 4

Mark Reeves

Phoebe Sharp

+ 4 more

Physics of the Respiratory System - Six Section Module

In-class activity, Lecture materials, Lab, Demonstration, Video, Homework, Exam problem, Instructor supplement, Restricted access, Pre-class assignment, Student reading

Fluid Mechanics of the Lung: A student-centered module on the Physics of the Respiratory System

Healthy Respiratory Function, Physical Mechanisms, Structure/Function Relationships, Respiratory Disorders, Biologically Mediated Mechanisms, Medical Applications

Pressure, Static Pressure, Atmospheric Pressure, Measuring Pressure, Flow Rate, Hagen-Poiseuille Equation

+ 1

Nancy Donaldson

Charles Gosselin

+ 1 more

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