June 2024


American Association of Physics Teachers

American Association of Physics Teachers

Physics Teaching matters and we can only make a difference if we work together and help each other. And today, with the help of the modern technology you can get connected with thousands of physics teachers all over the world and tap into the resources created by all of us. Want to get involved – become a member of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) . This organization makes a difference to thousands of students and teachers. For example, take a look at the comPADRE Digital Library of resources for physics teaching:

Wanting to contribute to how physics is taught in Canada and in the world is the main reason why I am have been an active member of the American Association of Physics Teachers ( for over a decade.  British Columbia, as well as ON, QC, and AB have active sections of the AAPT. The BC one is called BC APT: . Local sections would be a great resource for anybody teaching physics or planning to teach it in the future to get started. If you would like to know more about our organization, please do not hesitate to e-mail me:


AAPT is . . . a professional membership association of scientists dedicated to enhancing the understanding and appreciation of physics through teaching.

AAPT was established in 1930 with the fundamental goal of ensuring the “dissemination of knowledge of physics, particularly by way of teaching.” Paul E. Klopsteg, Ph.D., the Association’s first president, led the effort to organize the first association dedicated to improving physics education. Today that vision is supported by more than 11,000 members in 30 countries around the world.

. . . Winter and Summer National Meetings

These National Meetings, held each winter and summer, are opportunities for members, colleagues, and future physicists from around the world to:

* participate in physics workshops
* meet and greet other physics educators
* form networks nationally and locally
* engage exhibitors and learn about the latest physics resources
* discuss innovations in teaching methods
* share the results of research about teaching and learning.

AAPT also hosts or supports smaller workshops and conferences and symposia throughout the year to provide further opportunities for professional development and knowledge sharing.

. . . Teacher Resources

Two major peer-reviewed journals, the American Journal of Physics and The Physics Teacher provide a medium for sharing methods and research about teaching physics at introductory and advanced levels. Both print and online versions are available. All AAPT members receive their choice of one of the journals as part of their membership.

ComPADRE (Communities for Physics and Astronomy Digital Resources in Education) is a network of well-organized, digital collections of high-quality educational materials in physics and astronomy. These collections connect to a wide range of digital resources, including curricular materials, digital libraries, and online journals.

PSRC (Physical Sciences Resource Center) is a web-based databank that provides K-20 teachers links to a wide range of teaching and learning resources in the physical sciences. Educators can us the PSRC to find curriculum materials, classroom demonstrations, labs, online learning materials, evaluation instruments and articles on science education. This online forum is designed for active participation with suggestions for additions to the collection, discussion forums, comments, and a personal filing cabinet for favorite resources.

PTRA (Physics Teaching Resource Agents) provides sustained professional development to teachers of physics and physical science. By maintaining a nationwide cadre of over 100 accomplished high school teacher-leaders, trained and updated yearly, this program produces teachers who go out to meet the specific needs of teachers in their local areas.

New Faculty Workshops, conducted in conjunction with the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and the American Physical Society (APS), host new physics and astronomy faculty members each year at the American Center for Physics. These workshops help new faculty understand how students learn physics and astronomy and suggest ways this information can impact the new professor’s teaching methods.
. . . Competitions and Contests

U. S. Physics Team. Selection of the U.S. Physics Team for the International Physic Olympiad is through a series of exams beginning in December with the Fnet=ma Exam. The nation’s top physics students compete with students from around the world becoming part of a global network of the top future physicists.

AAPT Physics Bowl. Each year thousands of physics students participate in a timed multiple-choice test under the supervision of their school. Certificates and prizes are awarded to participants.

High School Photo Contest. Open to students in grades 9-12, participants can submit photos in the natural or contrived categories. Entries are judged on the quality of the photo and the accuracy of the physics. Winning photos are published in a poster and mailed with The Physics Teacher, giving recognition to the student’s teacher and to the student.

TARC (Team America Rocketry Challenge). Middle and high school students are encouraged in math and science as they learn the basics of physics and engineering by designing, building, and flying a model rocket carrying one raw egg to an altitude of exactly 750 feet while staying airborne for 45 seconds and returning the egg uncracked.

. . . Awards and Grants (Canadian sections May apply!)

AAPT recognizes academic and professional excellence in science through a variety of awards and grants for educators and for physics students, including the Klopsteg Memorial Award, Melba Newell Phillips Medal, Oersted Medal, Richtmyer Memorial Award, and Robert A. Millikan Medal. Awards are presented at the Winter and Summer National meetings each year.

For more background about us, consult the following links:

* Mission: describes our mission and strategic goals
* News: contains the archive of AAPT NEWS our monthly online newsletter and brief announcements from other organizations
* Council, Committees, and Groups: is an overview of our structure and a directory
* Reports: contains recent reports we have published
* Nominations and Elections: gives information on the nomination and election process, and allows members to nominate candidates online
* Constitution and Bylaws: contains a copy of our constitution and bylaws
* Historical Information: provides a history of AAPT and listing of officers and editors

If you are unable to find what you are looking for, consult the department directory to locate an AAPT staff member who will assist you.

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