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Teaching Magnetism In A High School

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Physics in the K-16 Classroom

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1189.1 - 9.1189.5



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Paper Authors

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Fengfeng Zhou

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Teaching Magnetism in High School

Fengfeng Zhou, Kyle Routzong

University of Cincinnati/Hughes High School


According to statistics from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)1 conducted in 1995, U.S. students ranked above the international average in the 4th grade and dropped to the middle in 8th grade for their mathematics and science achievement. Alarmingly, the performance of U.S. 12th graders ranked among the lowest scoring nations in the same study. Four years later, the 1999 TIMSS-Repeat showed that no change occurred in 8th-grade math and science achievement (students in the 4th and 12th grades were not tested in TIMSS-R). To address this issue and cope with the rapid advancement in science and technology, National Science Foundation (NSF) has funded a number of research projects at dozens of universities nationwide. One of these projects is Science and Technology Enhancement Program (STEP) currently being conducted at the University of Cincinnati. Project STEP involves nine graduate and eight undergraduate fellows, twenty-two secondary science and mathematics teachers, and ten UC professors (from the College of Engineering and College of Education). Every fellow is placed in a secondary school to work with one or more teachers. The main responsibility of a fellow is to develop and implement hands-on activities that are technology-driven and inquiry- based. Activities are incorporated into lessons, demonstrations, laboratory exercises, and field experiences. By doing these activities, students will experience authentic scientific and engineering research practices that require higher-order thinking skills and creative problem- solving skills. This will enable each student to develop a better understanding of science and engineering and hopefully foster a desire to advance his/her education in a related field.

The authors, as participants of project STEP, developed a module to teach magnetism to seniors at Hughes High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. The overall objective of this module was to increase student interest in physics and engage them in the learning process. To this end, technology was incorporated in each activity as much as possible. The module included three sessions. Each session lasted 1.5 hours and contained two hands-on activities. These activities aligned with the science and math standards of Ohio and were designed to be attractive and challenging to students. All lectures for this module were delivered with PowerPoint slides. Most slides contain one or two pictures to illustrate the content being covered. A website ( was developed to present students with interesting applications of magnetism such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and maglev (magnetically lifted train). Students took two quizzes, one before and one after the implementation of the module. They were also given an opportunity to evaluate the module, the implementation, and the performance of the instructor.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering

Zhou, F. (2004, June), Teaching Magnetism In A High School Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13934

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