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PTRA / AAPT Professional Development @ NWOSU

Northwestern Oklahoma State University is pleased to offer the summer science institute “ToPPS” for area Teachers of Physics and Physical science.  This 5-day institute is the first of its kind for the state of Oklahoma.  Leaders known as Physics Teaching Resource Agents (PTRAs) trained at the national level by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) will be leading the charge as 34 teachers from Oklahoma attend for a “refresher” in force and motion.


This page has been set up to document the institute and then serve as a forum for the dialogue to continue once the on-campus institute ends.  We hope to post pictures and videos of teachers in action as they explore new and old ways of making physics and physical science more accessible to their students.  Join in on the conversation!


  • To follow Brian Lamore’s NWOSU ToPPS blog, check out .  He’s done an excellent job putting together videos and a picture summary of the institute!
  • To sent Tweets for the PTRA community, use the hashtag: #ptraTopps .  We’re the first ToPPS institute to get this going!–Who says Oklahoma can’t be on the cutting edge 🙂
  • For more detailed information of the program and the grant sponsoring the institute, please visit the official webpage at .
  1. Jim Nelson permalink


    This is a first for AAPT/PTRA and I love it. Do you know AAPT has a PTRA Book titled “The Role of Toys in Teaching Physics”?

    • Thanks Jim! I may have to pick up a copy or two of the book. Too late to order now, but they would make great door prizes during our follow-up sessions!

  2. Brian Lamore permalink

    OK, we’re t minus 10 days from the workshop. I’ve got a lot of fun activities planned and am looking forward to meeting all the participants. I hope to hear from some of them in this blog. So if you’re out there, please join in the conversation. It’s never to early to talk about physics and teaching!

  3. Brian Lamore permalink

    One of the software applications we’re going to use at the workshop is Tracker. You can find it here: It’s free.

    Tracker is a video analysis application. You can import videos from your physics classroom (or anywhere really) and analyze the motion of the objects in the video. I’ve made a short screencast on how to use it, but there are already a bunch of tutorials on YouTube. So if you are interested in “reading ahead,” check out Tracker.

  4. Jill Lewis permalink

    Howdy! I’m really excited about this workshop and can’t wait to meet everyone…Brian has done an amazing job organizing this workshop. You’re going to love it!!!

  5. Brian Lamore permalink

    And if you ever need a stopwatch or countdown timer for the classroom, here’s one: I’ve used this for a quiz timer and homework review time at the start of class. So if you need a timer at the workshop, just look to your laptop or computer.

    I can confirm it works for soft-boiled eggs too…

    • Brian Lamore permalink

      Oh, and did I mention my cellphone has a stopwatch too?

      Conclusion: don’t invest in anyone making dedicated stopwatch timers for the classroom.

  6. For those interested ….

    The link below is to a folder that contains text resources by grade and subject (science) that contains unwrapped PASS standards. Select a resource and then click on the “Info” button to view the unwrapped standards. It is broken down by content (noun), skills (verbs), learning targets, big ideas, and essential questions.

    This is based on Larry Ainsworth’s book “Unwrapping Standards…” As he indicates in book, the big ideas and essential questions can vary.

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