2014 Annual Report - U Rochester


Mentor: Kevin McFarland

Our 2014 meetings (August 1, 8, 25) had a single focus: to revise and refine the high school classroom activities (developed in 2010 using MINERvA data) and the Neutrinos in the Classroom website (developed in 2012). Ms. Carol Hoffman, and Mr. Paul Sedita, both from Rochester, participated in the working group. The work was supervised by myself and Nathaniel Tagg.

The main objective of the project is to give students a chance to access particle physics data and to ask their own questions and draw their own conclusions from the data.  This is done in the context of a set of exercises that require limited interpretation of the experimental data with specific goals that are related to the standard high school curriculum.  The two exercises use two-track elastic neutrino scattering events to reconstruct information about the target using momentum conservation and radioactive decays of muons in the MINERvA detector to measure parameters of radioactive decay, such as the “half-life” and the released energy in the decay.

We were able to identify weaknesses in some of the materials and address those.  Another major goal was to improve the “packaging” of the materials to make it easier for participating teachers to take the materials from the website and develop a lesson plan tailored to their classroom. Much of this work was performed offsite by Carol Hoffman and Paul Sedita. The meeting times were used to discuss progress and areas on the website that still needed to be addressed by Nathaniel Tagg.