Column editor's note: As the school year comes to a close, it is important to start thinking about next year. One area that you want to consider is field trips. Many institutions require that teachers plan for a field trip well in advance. Keeping that in mind, I asked Jim Vetrone to write an article about the fantastic field trip he takes his AP Physics students on.
I had the awesome opportunity to attend a professional development day that Jim arranged at iFLY in the Chicago suburbs. The experience of “flying” in a wind tunnel was fabulous. Equally fun was watching the other physics teachers come up with experiments to have the professional “flyers” perform in the tube. I could envision my students being similarly excited about the experience and about the development of their own experiments.
After I returned to school, I immediately began the process of trying to get this field trip approved for the 2015–16 school year. I suggest that you start your process as well if you hope to try a new field trip next year. The key to getting the approval, in my experience, is submitting a proposal early that includes supporting documentation from sources. Often I use NGSS or state standards as justifications for my field trips. I have also quoted College Board expectations for AP Physics 1 and 2 in my documents when requesting an unusual field trip.
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Jim Vetrone; Physics of flying. Phys. Teach. 1 May 2015; 53 (5): 314–315. https://doi.org/10.1119/1.4917445
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