Introduction

The Project ITOP sequence consists of ten two-credit courses that merge physics content with readings from the history of physics, the philosophy of science, and the education research literature. The courses are blended in nature. There are seven in-class meetings for 3 hours and six online assignments/dialogues. Class meetings will be held at Boston University for participants in eastern Massachusetts and at Chicopee Comprehensive High School for participants from western Massachusetts.

The courses are offered at Boston University at the graduate level through the College of Arts and Science and the School of Education.

You can download a short printable summary of the ITOP objectives and courses here.

For the academic year 2008 - 09, classes will begin the second week of September. Five courses are offered each year between September and the end of June. The courses NS 540, NS 541, NS 542, NS 543, and NS 544 will be offered for the cohort of participants beginning in September. For current participants, NS 545, NS 546, NS 547, NS 548 and NS 549 will be offered. (Courses for the cohort that began in 2007 are only offered at Boston University.)

ITOP classes are small and provide individual attention and hands-on, inquiry-based learning in a relaxed, friendly environment. We are aware of teachers' heavy work schedules. We try to adjust the ITOP course schedules and requirements to accommodate the other professional demands on participants' time.

The instructional approach of Project ITOP to teaching physics is based on the physics education research literature. The history and philosophy of physics is included to enrich the understanding of the physics concepts. Our goal is for participants

  • to develop a conceptual understanding of physics;
  • to implement science education research findings in their lessons;
  • to develop a repertoire of examples, analogies, and metaphors drawn from the historyof science, as well as everyday experience; and,
  • to significantly improve problem-solving and laboratory skills for themselves and subsequently for their students.

The sequence of two-credit courses is listed in "Course Information."