Instructor Tools

Summer Institutes


The Quarknet program at Iowa is entering its 7th year this summer. In the summer of 2002, twenty-five teachers from across the state of Iowa spent three weeks at the University of Iowa attending a Quarknet workshop. The workshop was repeated in 2004 with twelve returning teachers. The program was intended to introduce teachers to modern physics and to new ideas in particle physics. The program is a flexible one so that the varied needs and backgrounds of teachers can be addressed.

The three weeks began with a series of lectures and activities facilitated by University of Iowa faculty. These activities were intended to increase teacher confidence in the realm of high-energy particle physics. A special emphasis was placed on incorporating quantum physics into the high school classroom. The goal was simple: to examine recent ideas in particle physics in ways that can be integrated into the high school classroom. In the process, classroom activities were created for teachers to use in their classrooms.

Each year the team took a trip to Fermi Laboratory, where they were given lectures and tours of the facility. The intention of the visit was to gain real-life experience with detectors, magnets, data, and all aspects of high-energy particle physics.


Ten teachers from across the state spent a week at the University of Iowa attending the semi-annual Quarknet Teacher Institute. Here they are seen with Dr. Onel after a lecture he gave on his involvement in CMS at CERN.[Image: QNet with Dr. Onel]

Besides lectures to increase their knowledge of high energy physics, they toured some of the labs at Iowa. Here they are interested in a feedback mechanism for CT scans being developed in a lab across campus.[Image: CT]

Dale Stille, the physics department’s guru on demonstrations, is always a workshop favorite. Each piece of equipment seen in this picture was used to show a different demonstration. The teachers are learning new ways to excite their students through innovative ideas. Some of them even took home some free equipment![Image: QNet with Dale]

The week ended with a trip to Fermilab in Batavia, IL. Here the group poses for a quick picture in front of the giant hydrgen bubble chamber on display on the laboratory grounds. A couple of the high school students who worked in the research lab over the summer also attended the trip.[Image: QNet at FNAL]


Ten teachers from across the state spent a week at the University of Iowa attending the semi-annual Quarknet Teacher Institute. Here they are seen with Dr. Onel.[Image: QNet with Dr. Onel]

The teachers spent much of their time working with the Muon Telescopes. They split into groups of two or three and each performed an experiment that they shared with the rest of the group. The three telescopes are currently taking data across the state of Iowa in these teachers’ classrooms. Here the teachers meet to discuss how to use the Muon Telescopes.[Image: QNet at work]

The week ended with a trip to Fermilab in Batavia, Il.


Teacher Institute: Outreach to high school teachers in Iowa

The Iowa group had a week-long institute at the end of July where the teachers attended lectures from physicists and learned how to use the Quarknet Cosmic Ray Muon Telescopes. During the week, lecturers from The University of Iowa particle physics lab, department of education and the astronomy department gave lectures to the attendees. We also took a day trip to Fermilab in Batavia Illinois. There, we toured the facility and made listened to two astrophysicists present their particular research plan.

The teachers also ran experiments using the Cosmic Ray Muon Telescope and posted their data on the Quarknet site at Fermilab. They learned how to connect and set up the equipment for experiments such as muon half-life, flux and shower measurements. The teachers learned to successfully implement the particular details of the equipment such as setting up coincidences, troubleshooting and using global positioning system. The data sequence for Quarknet was followed and each group of teachers made a poster to go with their data. This training was intended to make the teachers comfortable enough with the system to use it with their students when they get back to school. We dispersed the 5 telescopes around the state so they would have access to them.


2014 Summer Institute Report: (PDF)

The three mentor teachers participated in providing a five-day, 40 hour institute for 16 other teachers who came from all parts of Iowa to hone their skills in particle physics and educational methodology. They focused on the content of particle physics, the Next Generation Science Standards and pedagogy of implementing them. The teachers made lessons that focused the standards on high-energy particle physics topics. The institute was highlighted by a visit to Fermilab complete with tours and a talk with a research physicist.


Muon Telescope

Telescope Instructions

Building Cosmic Ray Detectors [Link]


Classroom Activities

Cosmic Ray Collaboration — [Link]


Exploring Cosmic Ray Detectors — [Link]