Exploring Gravitational Waves in the Classroom

Sunday, February 19, 2017: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Room 203 (Hynes Convention Center)
Lynn Cominsky, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA
Gravitational waves have captured the imagination of people around the world. Curriculum materials that use evidence-based practices can make the key ideas accessible to students beginning with middle school science classes through college physics and astronomy courses. This exciting new discovery also offers insights into science as a human endeavor as well as the interdependence of science, engineering, and technology. In this talk, I will present examples of educational materials that were developed to support LIGO’s discovery of gravitational waves, including the LIGO Educator’s Guide: Direct Detection of Gravitational Waves (for grades 6 and higher) and two online courses that were developed for instructors of lower-division undergraduate physics. I will also discuss the creation of LIGO-inspired imagery used by NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day, and the new Gravitation-themed poster available through the Contemporary Physics Education Project.