Attracting More Students to Physics by OCs1ocYm

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									Where will the next
Attracting More Students to Physics
Generation of Scientists and
Engineers come from?



                         Dr Mark Butler


                         Dr Mark Butler
                         Gosford High School
     Australian Statistics 2001-2004
   4420 less students enrolled in year 12
    Mathematics.
   National year 12 Physics enrolments hovered at
    about 12%.
   280 fewer civil engineers enrolled (7% decline).
   Science enrolments have increased by 5%, but
    23% more Law graduates and 16% more Sales
    and Marketing graduates.
   Proportion of students enrolled in Science
    degrees as a fraction of total university
    enrolments has dropped 7%,
   For many branches of engineering, Australia
    now imports more engineers that it produces.
  What is happening to
enrolments in senior high
     school Physics?
                                    HSC PHYSICS CANDIDATURE

                          14000




                          13000
HSC Physics Candidature




                          12000




                          11000



                          10000




                          9000




                          8000
                             1981   1986    1991          1996   2001   2006
                                                   Year
                               TOTAL HSC CANDIDATURE

              70000

              60000

              50000
Candidature




              40000

              30000

              20000

              10000

                 0
                 1981   1986    1991          1996     2001   2006
                                       Year
                  PHYSICS CANDIDATURE AS PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL
                                HSC CANDITATURE

             35

             30

             25
Percentage




             20

             15

             10

             5

             0
             1981        1986     1991          1996   2001    2006
                                         Year
            PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL SCHOOL STARTERS
                   WHO STUDY HSC PHYSICS

          20
          18
          16
          14
          12
Percent




          10
           8
           6
           4
           2
           0
           1980   1985   1990      1995   2000   2005
                                Year
                            FEMALE HSC PHYSICS CANDIDATURE

             40
             38
             36
             34
Percentage




             32
             30
             28
             26
             24
             22
             20
              1991   1993   1995   1997   1999   2001   2003   2005   2007
                                          Year
               PERCENTAGE OF YR11 STUDENTS WHO LEAVE
                              PHYSICS

          30
          25
Percent




          20
          15
          10
           5
           0
           1990           1995          2000       2005
                                 Year
                 Physics Participation Rate by State
25%


20%

                                                                  Vic
15%
                                                                  NSW
10%                                                               QLD
                                                                  SA
5%                                                                WA
                                                                  TAS
0%                                                                NT
  1988   1990   1992   1994    1996   1998   2000   2002   2004   ACT
                              Years
Why do we Need More
Students to Study Physics?
   We are not producing enough scientists and
    engineers.
   Our future economic prosperity will depend on a
    technologically literate workforce.
   Our Citizens need to be technologically literate to
    take an active part in today‟s society.
   Scientific and technological progress requires a
    constant supply of new creative talent to „push the
    envelope‟.
   Physics is a key part of our culture and history.
   And, because the physical universe is so amazing.
     How do we go about
 attracting more students to
senior physics and to careers
in Science, Engineering and
         Technology?
What are we Teaching in
 Senior High School
       Physics?
 Are our syllabuses working?
The Curriculum Dilemma
     Can one curriculum:
     Provide the fundamental Physics
      knowledge required for students who will
      not pursue Science after leaving school?
     And simultaneously
     Engage our brightest students and
      prepare them for careers in Science
    Physics Syllabuses
    in Australia

 Queensland:
   Updated their 1987 Syllabus in 2005:
   155 hours to cover nine core units
    65 hours of extension material to be
    designed by each school.
   10% of time on practical work
Victoria (VCE)
 The new 2005 VCE Physics Syllabus has
  four (one semester) units of study each with
  two compulsory areas of study and a third
  area selected from three option topics.
 UNIT 2:
1) Movement
2) Electricity
3) Astrophysics, Aerospace or Alternative
  Energy Sources
 ACT
   Schools in the ACT design their own
    individual Physics courses.
 South     Australia (updated 2006)
   Schools design their own courses in stage
    one (year eleven) from nine topics.
   In Stage two the course content is mandated
    and includes: Motion in Two Dimensions ,
    Electricity and Magnetism, Light and
    Matter, and Atoms and Nuclei.
Western Australia
   Previously had two courses but replaced
    both with a single course in 2006.
   The Physics course of study focuses on
    student achievement of four outcomes:
    Investigating, Communicating scientifically,
    Science in daily life, Acting responsibly,
    Science in society and Energy and change.
   Strongly outcomes based.
         Curriculum Framework        Course Scale of Achievement
         Progress Maps




WA


Levels of achievement refer to outcomes.
PHYSICS DUMBED DOWN IN WA
Australian 26/4/06
…. “In your answer discuss why only modern cars
have airbags, describe in detail how the air bag
protects the driver from injury and, examine the
ethics of making air bags compulsory in all
vehicles.”
….Even a ten year old with no training in physics
could write an essay and answer this sample
question.
Prof Roy Gilbert (Education)
Edith Cowan University
NSW
   Does our syllabus reflect „best practice‟?
   How is the NSW Physics Syllabus working?
   Does it satisfy the demands of all students?
   How does it compare with other States?
    THE NATIONAL AGENDA
   The Australian Certificate of Education.
   National Curriculum?
    National Consistency and comparability.
    (The current ACER study)
All syllabuses have been
reviewed and updated
recently. It is unlikely that
further syllabus changes
will attract significantly
more students to the
enabling sciences.
  Talented, well qualified
teachers are a key element
 in engaging and exciting
  students about science.
 But will the shortage of specialist teachers
 put Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry
 into a „Spiral of Decline‟?
         WA Physics Teachers' Age
             Distribution 2003

             50
             40
    Number of 30
    Teachers 20
             10
              0
                   <25   31-   41-   51-   61-
                         35    45    56    65

Mean = 46 years            Age in Years
   Vic Physics Teachers' Age Distribution

          45
          40
          35
          30
Number of 25
Teachers 20
          15
          10
           5
           0
               36- 31- 26- 21- 16- 11- 6- 1-5
               40 35 30 25 20 15 10
                    Years to Retirement
    National Physics Teachers' Age Profile
        (Deans of Science report 2005)

            60
            50
  Number of 40
  Teachers 30
  in Survey 20
            10
             0
                 <25   31-      41-   51-   61-
                       35       45    56    65
                             Age in Years
Mean = 44 years
Who‟s Teaching Science?
The Deans of Science Survey
   24% of Junior Science teachers have studied
    first year university Physics.
   16% had not studied any of the four key
    science disciplines.
   43% of Senior Physics teachers lack a
    physics major and 25% have not studied
    Physics beyond first year.
   40% of schools surveyed reported difficulties
    recruiting Physics teachers.
            Other Recent Studies
   UK 2004: “In the UK over 50% of scientists and
    engineers surveyed said that they had been
    influenced in their careers by a visit to a scientist or
    engineer's place of work and nearly 80% of
    respondents had been influenced by a teacher.”
    http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?id=2785
   Aust. 2005: “Physics graduates in Aust. are in such
    demand for research that there are few left to take
    up the challenges of physics in industry and
    teaching.” www.physics.usyd.edu.au/super/AUTC
   Vic 2002: The subject areas with the lowest number
    of expected graduate teachers per vacancy are:
    LOTE, Physics, Maths, Technology and Computer
    science.
    http://www.audit.vic.gov.au/reports_par/agp7304
    .html
   OECD Conference Nov 2005: In some countries,
    the number of graduates in mathematics, physics
    and chemistry has declined by 30-50% over the last
    8-10 years and there is a shortage of S & T teachers
    in most countries.
    http://www.caos.nl/ocw/programme.html
   US 2005: “The shortage of physics teachers in
    Illinois is chronic and growing worse.”
    http://www.phy.ilstu.edu/pipeline/Executive_Su
    mmary_10.doc
   UK 2005: “An independent report published today
    directly links the steep decline in the number of
    students taking A-level physics to the shortage of
    expert physics teachers. With over 30% of physics
    teachers due to retire in the next ten years, the
    need to recruit more physics teachers is now more
    important than ever before.”
    www.physorg.com/news8362.html
    Macquarie University’s
    Science Engineering and
    Technology (SET) Study
   92% of HSC Physics students trust their Physics
    teacher for information on Science careers. ( c.f.
    36% for Careers Advisors).
   A good experience in HS Science is the main
    reason students follow onto SET careers (HS
    Science teachers and extra-curricular experiences).
   HS students have poor understanding of SET
    careers.
    National Recommendations:

   Provide more science training for primary teachers.
   Remove the HECS anomaly for science teachers.
   Provide scholarships for Physics graduates to complete
    teacher training.
   Ensure salary scales recognise qualifications (in
    addition to experience).
   Create alternate career paths for talented teachers.
   Instigate industry/university placements for teachers.

     See: DEST Australia‟s Teachers: Australia‟s Future or AIP Education
     Policy
But what can be done at
    the „Chalkface‟?


At Gosford High School we
went back to basics and
asked.....
Why Students Choose to Study the
Enabling Sciences (& why they don‟t)

    Personal Reasons
    Social Reasons

    Extra-curricular
     reasons
    Personal Reasons and Responses
   Interest (Programs, SEG, extra-curricular)
   Ability (Build self confidence)
   Enjoyment/fun (Programs, SEG, extra-curricular)
   Previous success ( Ensure students reach goals)
   Prerequisite (Explicit knowledge required)
   Keeping options open (Students need to know)
   Knowledge of what subject entails (Yr 10 program)
   Knowledge of career prospects (Teacher, visitors)
   Gender (Roll models, teachers, guest speakers,
    past students)
    Social Reasons and Responses
   Socio-economic background
   „Science friendly‟ home (Try to influence this)
   Friends (Advice, study buddies)
   Family (Involve them)
   Other students (Advice day)
Extra-curricular Reasons and
Responses
   TV, books, movies (Encourage)
   Science role models (Attend talks, use visiting
    scientists, talk about careers and scientists)
   Excursions/workshops (Facilitate)
   Competitions (Science Fair, Olympiad, etc.)
   Work Experience (Facilitate)
   Research projects (Program and encourage)
   Timetable restraints (Remove if possible)
     How Science has Changed at
     Gosford High School
   From 1998 to 2003 the participation rate in
    senior Physics and Chemistry increased
    by 80% and 50% respectively.
   The higher enrolments (approx. 100 Phys
    and 100 Chem in yr11) have been
    maintained from 2003 to 2006.
   Most students now pursue Science and
    Science related careers.
2006 Yr 11 GHS Survey Results
   What influenced your decision to study Physics in
    year 11?
   92% were influenced by the yr.10 Physics Unit.
Most Important Influence?
 43% Yr. 10 Physics Unit.
 37% Possible future career.
 10% To keep options open.
 10% Other (e.g. Friends, ability, etc. )
                     Key Elements
   Head Teachers: Must ensure Physics, Mathematics and
    Chemistry have a high profile in the school.
   Teachers: Expert knowledge, enthusiastic, caring, teach
    in their specialist area, discuss Science careers regularly
    (use scientists/engineers as guest speakers).
   Science courses: Enjoyable, fun, challenging, student
    centred, differentiate Physics, Chemistry and Biology in
    yr 10.
   Extra-curricular: All students encouraged to engage in a
    wide range of activities and supported to do so.
Rutherford         Joule               Galileo           Einstein             Thomson             Bohr         Meitner      Michelson     Pauli




 Friedmann         Curie               Hertz                    Schrodinger                  Braggs            Feynmann    Oppenheimer




                                                           Maxwell              Hubble            Kepler
                     Dirac             Boltzmann                                                               Becqueral   Roentgen        Bell
   Gell-Mann




Leavitt        Hawking       Faraday             Fermi              Newton               Heisenberg        de Broglie      Planck        Chadwick

								
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