Annual Report - 2020 - Neutrino Edition

Annual Report: Virtual Quarknet Group 2020 (11 participants) 


Mentors; Danielle, Antonio, 

QN Staff: Ken Cecire, Shane Wood

Teachers: James Small, Darwin Smith, Kathy Kowski, Joel Klammar, David Trapp (lead), Marteen Nolan,, Alison Bulson, Charlie Payne, Nicole Preiser, Debbie Gremmelsbacher, Megan Alvord, Michael Wadness (lead)


Overview: Our group met monthly thoughout the year in an online envioronment.   Due to the pandemic our Virtual QN Summer Workshop met via Zoom – with synchronous online activities moderated by QN staff Ken Cecire and Shane Wood.  There was lots of good conversations ranging from technical questions on neutrino mixing and mass eigenstates, to the usual jokes by unusual geeks.  We convened for 2.5 days, and hosted two talks by particle physicists – theorist/mentor Antonio Delgado, and experimentalist / chair of Oregon State University physics Heidi Schellman.   We missed the usual casual meeting time - meals and outings - we normally get during our in person meet-ups.  We learned a lot, and have plenty of new tricks for our classrooms.

August 12-14, 2020:  Neutrino Data workshop objectives: 

  • -Apply physics principles to reduce or explain the observations in data investigations.
  • -Examine simulated and experimental data. Identify patterns within the data and consider causes of those patterns.
  • -Create, organize and interpret data pots; make claims based on evidence and provide explanations; identify data limitations.
  • -Develop a plan for taking students from their current level of data use to subsequent levels using activities and/or ideas from the workshop.
  • -Share activities and sources for virtual learning.

August 12, 2020

Mean Lifetime Part 1: Dice ( Dice simulator or use a real 6 sided die to determine the #rolls to get a 1.  Data was collected and put into group spreadsheet.  Graph was generated.

Mean Lifetime Part 3: MINERvA – level 2 data portfolio activity. Data collection method using ARACHNE program. spreadsheet of group data of muons and graphs discuss results in small groups using Padlet with questions.  Determine the lifetime and Calculate half-life.  Groups come back together to discuss answers to Padlet questions regarding similarities and differences between the data and graphs of the 2 different Lifetime activities.  

Mentor Talk:  Antonio Delgado: talk centered on neutrino production and oscillation.  Current mixing of neutrinos similar to quark mixing.  However proportions of neutrino mix are a mass matrix not an equal distribution of neutrinos.  Antonio answered questions as the presentation proceeded.  Very good interaction with our mentor.  Patience with our varying level of understanding and put answers into terms we could comprehend and share with our students.

 August 13, 2020

The Case of the Hidden Neutrino – Level 1 Data Portfolio Activity   Data collected and participants put into group spreadsheet. Discussion of various graphs produced in chat rooms with 3-4 participants in each.  Regroup and share thoughts with entire group.

Guest speaker:  Heidi Schellman; neutrino measurement and lab tour of facility.  Heidi showed tunnel tours, the neutrino facility at CERN, Answered some awesome questions such as: 

How many neutrinos actually fly through a detector system without ever hitting anything in the detector?  Seems like it would be a really rare event for that to occur… (10^15?).  Also, how many neutrinos are actually produced originally? [context: slide 34]


If we find that for neutrinos and anti-neutrinos oscillate differently, does that also answer the question about neutrinos being their own antiparticle (Majorana particles)?


From Darwin and Ken: What’s this? (Event in MINERvA - note the energy ~ 20 GeV.)


Is the sun’s production rate of neutrinos (10^11 neutrinos/sec/cm^2) based upon calculations about the sun’s rate of nuclear reactions or is it based on some direct measurement and a subsequent extrapolation? Same question about supernovae.


MINERvA Masterchass:  Neutrino Project:  Data collected and placed into group spreadsheet.

Data and graphs discussed as entire group. This data collection was a different process compared to the others.  We found the muon and proton pair in the data set after viewing all slices of data.  Click and copy features from schematic to group data table was very easy to do with a little practice.  Students would be able to master this level of interaction once they had completed the underlying activities, in the same order that our workshop did.  The technical ability necessary in the steps toward a group set of data increased through the activities and the data from one activity to the next built upon each other, well organized.

August 14, 2020 Share-a-thon – some links and resources.


Item/Resource to share 

Do a presentation? If so, how much time? 

Links and notes 

Shane Wood

List of resources for teaching remote physics - A compilation from QuarkNetters



Cell phone experiments


Cell phone doc cam


Phone scanner lesson for students (Danielle)

Megan Alvord

Flipgrid as a problem solving/assessment tool

5 minutes + questions (Free with email account)

Megan Alvord

Calculate mass of Sgr A* - from Perimeter

5 minutes 

Alison Bulson

A whole bunch of resources, some from Advanced Placement teacher collaboration

No, thank you

Nicole Preiser

Another way to estimate Sgr A* using images

5 minutes


Nicole Preiser

At home labs - maybe 

and other tools

6 minutes


Darwin Smith

Flinn Scientific at-home science   All I can find on their website is chemistry, but I thought they also had some physics labs.

Darwin Smith

PhET  Lots of good simulations and teacher resources. I have not used them for several years because iPads at my last school did not work with Java. PhET has added a lot of html sims in the past few years, I think

Darwin Smith



If you are a member they have all kinds of resources.

Darwin Smith



There is a way to record a lecture/lesson as you write on the board. A student can watch the notes go up as you talk. I’m not sure how it is done or what you need besides the basic SmartBoard, but it’s pretty slick. At the very least it is easy to print the notes from your board or make them available digitally.

Marteen Nolan

Physics Classroom  Self-paced learning modules, tutorials and simulations.  Educators can purchase worksheets and keys if desired.

Dave Trapp

Internet physics

5 min



Presentations from table above were very informative and showed new ways to reach students virtually in general and specific tools to allow them to virtually access HEP lessons.

Separate discussions in Chat rooms: What will you be doing next year and how will you implement some nuclear physics lessons and virtual learning share?  Groups of 3-4 share, then come back together to share with each other.  We are a varied group of educators and can learn much from the variety of our employment circumstances.

End of Meeting.