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Physics C

Connie Wells

Connie Wells has a Master of Science Degree in Physics from The University of Kansas, where she was appointed in May 2017 to the Physics and Astronomy Advisory Board. She has taught Physics, AP Physics B, AP Physics C and AP Physics 2 at the high school level for twenty five years. She has been active in test scoring and development for The College Board, serving on the AP Physics B and C Test Development Committee from 1997-2001 and as Co-chair of the AP Physics 2 Development Committee from its inception to 2015. In November 2003, Connie was a Regional Winner of the Siemens Award for Advanced Placement Teaching sponsored by The College Board and The Siemens Foundation and was awarded the Rockers Award for Greater Kansas City Area Outstanding Teacher in Science in 2008. As a workshop leader and College Board institute consultant, she has presented teacher training institutes throughout the United States and abroad—including Edmonton (AB, Canada), Hawaii, Saipan (Northern Marianas Islands), Barranquilla (Colombia), Bangkok, Skopje (Macedonia), Shanghai, Tokyo, Harbin (China), Taipei (Taiwan), Hangzhou (China), and Beijing. She is the author of several physics review guides produced by major publishers and documents and focus booklets for AP Physics published by The College Board, as well as a recently published review guide for the MCAT Exam from McGraw Hill. Connie has been Chair of the Committee on Teacher Preparation for the American Association of Physics Teachers. She served on the AP Physics Redesign Commission, beginning in 2006, also serving as Co-Chair of the AP Physics 1 and 2 Curriculum Development and Assessment Committee. In August, 2015, she was named Woman Physicist of the Month by the American Physical Society. She was appointed to the College Board Science Advisory Panel in 2016. Connie recently retired from teaching but continues to work on physics writing projects, committee work,  and consulting for The College Board.


Participants in this summer institute will have the opportunity to meet and learn from others who are developing Advanced Placement Physics programs in their schools.  Current and aspiring AP Physics teachers will strengthen their knowledge of the subject, become familiar with the AP Physics C (electricity, magnetism, and mechanics) program and its changing scope and sequence, and develop laboratory and demonstration materials for use in their own classrooms.  They will come away from the institute with many materials, including the College Board AP Physics packet, tests and solutions from past years, sample course syllabi, and the solutions to the 2018 exams. Time will be spent working on problem solving techniques and discussing approaches to teaching AP Physics—including the role of vertical teaming, development of a course syllabus, and designing labs and assessments that address higher order thinking skills. Participants will be given the opportunity to work in small groups to model inquiry-based laboratory design increasingly emphasized by the AP Physics C courses, selecting the lab work from a variety of options that best fit the teacher’s course needs.  As time permits, new AP teachers will be given guidance in preparing and filing the course audit. Participants should bring a calculator, notebook and a few optional items such as a laptop or ipad, handout or favorite demonstration to share, and simple tools (scissors, pliers, screwdrivers).

Tentative Syllabus

Day 1

  • Introductions
  • Overview of institute goals
  • Review of materials supplied for participants
  • AP Physics C course content and Curriculum Framework
  • Presentation of new materials for AP teachers in 2019
  • Test specifications
  • Team preparations of Free Response questions for presentation
  • Discuss a plan for preparation of individual course syllabi/timelines
  • Center of mass and oscillation activities
  • Construction of PVC rotational device


  • Prepare your assigned Free Response question for presentation to the class
  • Look over 2018 exams
  • Begin work on course syllabus/timeline (required for credit participants but recommended for everyone)

Day 2

  • Presentations of solutions to 2018 Free Response questions
  • Discussion of the process of preparing, reading and scoring AP exams
  • The lab inquiry process
  • Laboratory journal/student lab records
  • Testing of the “PVC Rotation Apparatus”
  • Design lab experiments, using the student lab inquiry model


  • Work on published sample multiple choice exams
  • Prepare a course outline

Day 3

  • Examination and discussion of multiple choice questions and ranking
  • Small group work and presentations of selected lab experiments
  • Demonstrations and discussion related to electrical circuits and electrostatics
  • Construction and testing of series/parallel circuit devices
  • Electrostatics experiments
  • Capacitor charging experiment


  • Work on course syllabus
  • Bring in a “Best Practice’ (optional)

 Day 4

  • Finish going over multiple choice examples and ranking of achievement levels
  • Discuss testing of laboratory skills on the exam
  • Develop a summary of ideas for a laboratory plan
  • “Best Practice” presentations
  • Laboratory report and course outline due from credit participants*
  • Drawing for giveaways
  • Workshop evaluation

*Note:  Credit participants are required to turn in a course outline and the complete write-up of one laboratory experiment done during the week.