Join a virtual working group about materials for teaching physics to life science majors, starting in September 2019

We hope the start of the new academic year is going smoothly for you! The Living Physics Portal team wishes to support you by providing two opportunities this fall to join a “curriculum swap” virtual working group, where physics instructors get together to evaluate and improve materials for their physics classes and labs, like homework problems, exams, in-class activities and more. Here’s what you need to know about the groups:

  1. Curriculum swap groups meet once per week using online video conferencing for facilitated discussion around practical changes that can improve your students’ experiences in physics

  2. The group of 3-8 instructors and a Living Physics Portal team facilitator will meet a total of eight times for 1.5 hours each time

  3. Group 1 will meet weekly between Sept 23 and Nov 15, facilitated by Dr. Mary Chessey. Group 2 will meet weekly between Oct 21 and Dec 18, facilitated by Dr. Chandra Turpen.

  4. Meeting times will be determined by participants’ availability (see scheduling poll below)

  5. Prepare to learn what other innovative physics instructors are doing in their classes, and share materials from your class for discussion and workshopping

  6. We will use the Living Physics Portal website to share and adapt physics curricular resources with each other

We hope you will join one of our curriculum swap groups this fall! Space is limited, so sign up before Sept. 17 to be considered for a group. A past curriculum swap participant has stated:

Just knowing that there is a community that is going to be having these conversations… I’m inspired to share and I’m willing to listen and get feedback in maybe even more critical ways than I might normally because it’s a group that cares so much about this.

Fill out the scheduling poll HERE to get involved.

Upcoming Workshop at Rockhurst University

Event Title: Growing your physics program by engaging pre-health and life science students: A Living Physics Professional Community Workshop

Date & Time: February 21-22, 2020

Location: Kansas City, MO

Cost: $75 (with scholarships available for instructors with financial need)

Description: Are you interested in growing your physics program but not sure where to start? Pre-health and life science students can expand and enrich your physics program. Come and learn about ways to support more science and pre-health majors in seeing the beautiful intersections between physics and the health sciences. Hear about Rockhurst University’s award winning “Physics of Medicine” curriculum and degree program. Experience for yourself this unique hands-on curriculum that focuses on deep conceptual understanding of physics as it applies to other sciences, medicine and healthcare. Their Physics of Medicine program is an interdisciplinary, pre-professional, physics major track designed for students that wish to attend clinical graduate school programs in medicine or healthcare. Due to their Physics of Medicine program, Rockhurst (a relatively small college) now ranks first in the nation in awarding a second degree in physics to women and 7th nationally in awarding a second degree in physics overall.

Find out more details.

Register to attend.

Past Workshops

Workshop at Swarthmore College, March 2019

Event Title: Making physics personally meaningful and coherent with life science students’ other STEM knowledge: A Living Physics Professional Community Workshop

Date & Time: March 29-30, 2019, starting 4:00pm ET on Fri.

Location: Swarthmore College, PA

Cost: $75 (with scholarships available for instructors with financial need)

Description: This 1.5 day workshop hosted by Swarthmore College’s Physics & Astronomy Department immerses instructors in re-thinking and adapting introductory physics courses and lab activities for life science students to emphasize interdisciplinary connections. Instructors and lab managers will be exposed to practical changes they can implement at their home institutions that put students’ experiences and learning at the center of classroom interactions. Workshop participants will also join a growing network of highly-engaged physics instructors who share curricular materials and troubleshoot instructional challenges. The experiences of learning, re-thinking, changing, and networking are tied together within the Living Physics Portal, an NSF-funded online resource for instructors of introductory physics classes for life science majors. Instructors, lab managers, community college faculty & staff and those with varying degrees of familiarity with physics for life scientists or active learning are welcome!

Find out more details.

In-person workshop at AAPT Winter Meeting, January 2019

Event Title: Curriculum Swap: Creating, Sharing, and Improving Student-centered Activities for Life Science Students (W15)

Date & Time: January 12, 2019 1-5pm

Location: Houston, TX

Cost: $60 for AAPT members, $85 for non-members

Description: Come join a community of faculty committed to innovative teaching within introductory college physics courses for life science students. Bring an instructional task that you are proud of to share with other highly engaged educators. Solicit other educators’ reactions to your classroom or lab activities. Hear about innovative things that other highly engaged educators are doing. In this workshop, educators will discuss the logic behind why they organize their physics activities in the ways that they do. Learn how to use the Living Physics Portal ( to make your innovations accessible to other educators. By the end of the workshop, you will be prepared to contribute your own activities to the Portal for other educators to use and adapt.