The New Jersey Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers (NJAAPT) is a professional organization whose focus is on physics education and educational research.  NJAAPT is committed to outreach and support for Physics teachers.  The majority of NJAAPT members are high school and college faculty teaching in New Jersey.    Activities and resources include Workshops, Conferences, Meetings, Sharing Sessions, Lectures, a Listserve, and a Website.


NOTE:  website/membership site  update  Fall 2016   please go to   https://njaapt.wildapricot.org

Upcoming Events — Fall 2016

We have several workshops and events coming up.  Mark your calendar!

Oct 21-22  
The AAPT-New England Section is hosting the Fall Tri-Regional Meeting at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.
We hope that many NJ Section members will be able to join us.
Information about the Meeting is at: https://aapt-nes.org/regional-meetings/
Registration is now functioning for the AAPT Tri-Regional Meeting on October 21-22 at Wesleyan.
Here is the link:    https://aapt-nes.wildapricot.org/event-2216332
Theme: How Physics Teaching Has Changed Since 1950: 66 years after the landmark AAPT National Meeting at Wesleyan University

Nov 5, 2016
BCC Astronomy    Bergen County College      Download info here
Bergen Community College will again be the host for the fall NJAAPT Physics Teachers Conference on Saturday November 5th and we invite you all to attend!

We have two very interesting and exciting talks scheduled for the day!
Dr. John Spencer is from the Institute Scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder and will present “Pluto – One Year Later“.  At last year’s conference we had an exciting talk about the first few images and science returned from the New Horizons spacecraft.  Now, one year later, we will see and hear about the science that has been extracted from the data and the new photos that have finally been sent to us.
Dr. Harold C. Connolly Jr. presentation is called “OSIRIS-REx, NASA’s New Asteroid Sample Return Mission to Asteroid Bennu”.  He is the founding Chair and Professor in the new Department of Geology in the new school of the Earth and Environment at Rowan University.  He is a Co-Investigator and the Mission Sample Scientist in charge of all the science related to the geology of target asteroid Bennu and the analysis of the returned sample.
We invite all of you to attend this FREE day – that includes a FREE light dinner – on November 5th.
We will have tables set up for any poster presentations that you and your students may want to display.  As always, our telescopes will be observing the sun and the evening sky weather permitting.


Nov 12, 2016
Blacksmith Workshop,  Trenton NJ
This is a preliminary announcement for a workshop, so you can mark your calendars!
Also – tell your fellow Chemistry / Shop / Technology teachers – they may be interested in attending.
Registration info will follow soon.

“The Science of Blacksmithing”        Saturday  Nov 12, 2016,   Trenton NJ      (time and cost TBA – either 9:00 or 10:00 am)
This is a great opportunity to learn about and try out Blacksmithing.  In Trenton.  Yes, there’s a Blacksmith shop there.
Jon Gaffin, a science teacher in Trenton who hosted a similar workshop several years ago along with the Blacksmith, will tell you about the science in Blacksmithing, and guide you through some practice, and you will bring back a completed project to use in your classroom.

BCC Astronomy Meeting 11 / 5 / 2016

The BCC Astronomy fall meeting will be on Saturday November 5th at Bergen Community College.

This year we will have two great speakers:

Harold C. Connolly Jr. Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Geology and Professor at Rowan University, who is a Co-Investigator and the Mission Sample Scientist for OSIRIS-REx sample and return mission to asteroid Bennu.

John Spencer Ph. D. who is an Institute Scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder Colorado.  His talk is called “Pluto at One Year – What We Know Now “. He has served on the science teams of the Galileo Jupiter Orbiter, the Cassini Saturn Orbiter, and the new NASA Europa mission, and is deputy project scientist on the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.

We will start at 2 pm with observing the sun, and the talks will start at 6 pm.  As we have done in the past, this is a FREE program and dinner is included at no charge to the attendees.  (last  year was the only time we have had to charge admission because it was a two day program).

More details to follow soon!

President’s Message – February 2016

President’s Message

February, 2016


The new year is well underway and we have to wonder what makes time go by so quickly.  Before long many will be questioning each other as to whether they will have enough time to complete their physics courses to adequately prepare the students for their exams.  Time is becoming more precious to every teacher and with the additional requirements handed down from the state and federal governments, it is no wonder why teachers feel frustrated and under tremendous pressure.  How do you cope with this?  What can you do to make it easier on you and your students?  One answer is to partake in some of the activities offered by the NJAAPT.

It is very important that for an organization to prosper and serve its membership there must be active participation on the part of the members.  The NJAAPT has throughout its history sponsored workshops, make and takes, and meetings to fulfill its mission.  We have been very successful at providing opportunities to increase the information that teachers can use in the physics curriculum.

This past year, Jim Ferrara hosted a well attended and lively workshop on the changes in course and approaches to teaching AP Physics.  Even though a follow-up session had to be postponed to the snow storm of January 23, there will be another opportunity this spring to make up the session.  Jim presented some of this at our meeting last spring and has been invited to address the SEPA Section on this important topic.

Holiday Treats brought together our members and their families in a fun evening.  Boxes with classroom materials, a give-away table, and door prizes awaited the participants.

In the spring we will be sponsoring a Demo Night on March 4 at Princeton University.  This is a chance for our members to share a favorite demonstration in a very relaxed environment.  Why not show us what you do in your classroom?  Too often we feel that everyone has seen what we do, but not everyone does it in the same way.  Come join us and have a great Friday evening.

As you are aware, we hosted the Northeast Regional Meeting at Bergen Community College in October.  The result of the planning for this meeting meant that we had to make the decision not to hold a Spring Meeting as we normally do.  The effort to plan the Regional and a Spring Meeting seemed as if it would be an overwhelming task for the executive board.  Look forward to a Spring Meeting in 2017.

For those who attended the Holiday Treats, you heard my announcement that I informed the executive board last August that I will be stepping down as president of the NJAAPT effective at the end of this June.  It is time that someone else assume the leadership of the Section.

I believe that the NJAAPT will benefit from a person who is actively involved in teaching physics, someone who is directly affected the expectations of the Education Department, and be able to attend the national meetings of the AAPT.

It has been my pleasure to serve as president since 2002 and to meet so many great people in our Section and from around the country while attending the Winter and Summer Meetings.

John Valente is designated to conduct the search for individuals who would like to run for a position of leadership in the NJAAPT.  Each office is to be voted on  this May and it would be a chance for some new individuals to step up and continue the valuable work of the NJAAPT.


Ray Polomski