Grants to support FM physics outreach programs

JOHNSTOWN – A Fulton-Montgomery Community College instructor has been awarded a physics-astronomy outreach grant from the New York State Section of the American Physical Society and a Bauder Fund grant from the American Association of Physics Teachers.

The grants, totaling more than $2,000, were awarded to Gilbert Ayuk, instructor of physics and astronomy, for two projects. They are the Physics and Astronomy Educational Outreach Program and Smartphone Physics Workshop for K-12 Physics Teachers, a news release said.

The Physics and Astronomy Educational Outreach Program at FM will seek to motivate a group of students in kindergarten through 12th grade from schools in Fulton and Montgomery counties to develop an interest in physics and astronomy, the news release said.

Collaborators in this project are FM Physics Associate Professor John Kohn and FM Electrical Technology Instructor Jeremy Spraggs.

The smartphone physics workshop was funded by the Frederick and Florence Bauder Endowment for the Support of Physics Teaching and administered by the American Association of Physics Teachers.

The smartphone physics workshop will seek to introduce physics and physical science teachers from the school districts to the power of smartphones and their applications as a convenient apparatus for physics teaching, the news release said.

The goals of the workshop are to engage the physics teachers in hands-on laboratory exercises using smartphones and to strengthen and support the work of physics and physical science teachers through “make-and-take” physics equipment activities, according to the news release.

The planning and implementation of the workshop will be carried out by Ayuk and George Amann, a certified physics teacher resource agent for New York state.

According to Ayuk, these projects are in line with the FM Science Division’s efforts to increase its visibility in the community, the news release said.

“The outreach projects will not only excite young students about physics and astronomy, and encourage them to study physics, astronomy and the related sciences, but will also equip the physics teachers to return to their schools and introduce their students to smartphone-based physics laboratory work,” Ayuk said in the news release. “Given the low budget situation of most K-12 schools and the popularity of smartphones among students, the use of student-owned smartphones for performing traditional physics experiments should lead to a welcome reduction in schools’ laboratory budgets. The use of student-owned smartphones to collect data has been linked to increase students’ motivation to learn physics.”