Planning the masterclass 2016

This page is to help to guide mentors in preparing their teams, including teachers, for the masterclass.


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Key elements

  • Start early - October is good for a masterclass the following March.
  • People - assemble a team of physicists, students, and high school physics teachers.
  • Schedule - check your Institution and have teachers check their school for a good masterclass date.
  • Ratios - one mentor or tutor per maximum 10 students, one computer per 2 students.
  • Preparation - orientation for your team, into activities for students before masterclass.
  • Vidyo - arrange what you need for the masterclass videoconference and have a Vidyo test using the same place and equipment.
  • Organize - a place for students to work, tours of labs, presentations, lunch together (plus snacks, drinks etc), etc.





"I let myself in."

I looked up. In the waning light of that early October day I could tell that a particle physicist had just entered my office. 

"Yeah, welcome," I said, "but I have papers to grade."

"Grade them later. Right now, let me tell you a story," replied the CMS genius.

"Okay. Talk." I sat back and dropped the red pen on the desk. I took a long, slow sip of my cold coffee.

"I have a gig with the LHC and you have high school physics students. We're going to do a masterclass. I'll check my March calendar, you check yours, let's find a good day to bring your most motivated. We'll sign up on the Doodle poll. After the New Year, we'll prep some. You and I and the team will have an orientation to learn about the masterclass. Then you'll give your students some activities to familiarize them with particle physics. That helps them because in the masterclass they'll use actual LHC data. With me so far?"

"Yeah, I'm interested, Doc." 

"Good. Then on the date we pick we'll have the students at the Institute the whole day. We'll start them with a cloud chamber, work up to the Standard Model in a presentation I'll give, let them tour a bit - everyone loves the laser lab on the third floor and the Van der Graff in the basement - and then have lunch."

"Lunch, good," I said. "Lunch with a physicist will be a great event for the students."

"Then you will lead the students in how to analyze the LHC data. Yes, you can do it. Then we turn them loose on data before I lead them in a physics discussion of the results. They will cap it with a videoconference with other masterclass institutes and with moderators at CERN or Fermilab. Sound like a plan?"

"It's a plan. You had me on LHC. Now let me finish these quizzes."


Keep in mind

Here is where we are going with this from an educational point of view...

Enduring Understandings from the Masterclass

These are points we want students to remember long after the masterclass.

  1. Particle physics research requires the use of indirect evidence to support claims.
  2. The Standard Model is the current theoretical framework for our understanding of matter.
  3. The behavior of particles is governed by conservation laws and mass-energy conversion.


Learning Objectives

These are things we want students to be able to do as a result of the masterclass.

After the masterclass activity students will be able to:

  1. Explain that a general-purpose collider detector is made of a number of subsystems and describe what they are designed to measure.
  2. Express an increased appreciation for the nature of scientific investigation.
  3. Describe features of the Standard Model—which particles are which and how they relate to one another.
  4. Identify specific particles and their decays by their signatures.
  5. Give examples of how hadrons or force carriers can decay into different types of leptons.
  6. Describe/show how conservation laws, behavior of particles in a magnetic field and energy-mass conversion apply to particle physics.
  7. Give examples of conservation of charge in particle decays.


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