High School Teachers Gain Research Experience at Notre Dame

Author: Marissa Gebhard

2010 Research Experience for Teachers


High school teachers who participated in the 2010 Research Experience for Teachers (RET) at Notre Dame presented their work to each other and participating high school students in the Jordan Hall of Science on July 30. The students gave poster presentations on their work. RET brings teachers to campus for several summer weeks of research, aiming to help them take more inquiry-based science into the classroom.

Among others, Jill Zeiger and Mark Kirzeder gave a presentation on their CMS e-Lab Analysis, refining a tool that allows teachers to introduce their students to the actual physics going on in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) group, part of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. Notre Dame’s QuarkNet is developing a website that allows students to use CMS research data in their studies. Zeiger and Kirzeder displayed a sample of a webpage for teachers to help them guide students in the process of producing posters, abstracts, bibliographies and other research reporting features.

Calvin Swartzendruber reported on Project GRAND, another QuarkNet project that involves 64 comic ray detector huts, each with four stacked chambers to trace the paths of particles, arrayed on a 100- by 100-meter field on campus. Other teachers described experiments with scintillator material from Fermilab, efforts to develop liquid scintillators, and investigations to find the optimal silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) size for next-generation cosmic ray detection.

Mike Sinclair and Helene Dauerty worked on upgrading and modifying a biocomplexity tutorial, including a program that shows students the unusual back-and-forth movements of Myxobacteria. Others presented on astronomy research and developing a way to recycle gas jet targets, involving pressure measurements and unit conversions that students can perform.