The Consortium Teaching Modules and Links 2000/2001 Leadership Program

TEAM 13:

2000/2001 Leadership Program

Cadre 1

Teacher Teams - Team 13

Don Higdon


School: Arundel High School
City: Gambrills
State: Maryland
Teaching Experience: 30 year(s)
Subjects: Intro Physics; AP Physics

My motivation for teaching:
Basically I love playing with toys, and teaching Physics provides a socially acceptable opportunity to get really involved with a near endless variety of them. Blessedly, as I've gotten older, sophisticated physics equipment (toys) has gotten continuously more affordable, providing ever more powerful (and often engaging) tools to place in the hands of even the most jaded teen-agers.
Since physics, as a subject, comes burdened with probably the worst PR of any course in high school, I also find it a delightful challenge to support kids getting successfully involved in the processes of science despite their predispostions -- and better, having fun at the same time.

My favorite quote:
"One must learn by doing the thing; though you may think you know it, you have no certainty until you try."

A personal humorous school story:
Some years ago I was having a formal observation by the new principal of our school. I set up what I thought was going to be a four star demonstration: great student engagement, pizazz, and a well developed lesson on simple harmonic motion. I even had the media specialist come in to video tape the show. Everything was cruising along just fine till the grand finale, where I had set up an ultra sound motion detector to capture and project the motion of me swinging from a chain (a strong chain) attached to the high ceiling. I had gone through two evolutions and was at the end of the swing when the chain parted like it was made of spaghetti (I think it must have been a low bid item in the science department inventory...). My trajectory was perfectly captured on video while I sailed out of the range of the motion detector, skidded across and off the top of my lab demonstration table, and disappeared from view to the resounding (could we say near-chaotic?) cheers, hoots, and applause of all the students who thought it was just another set-up. Workman's comp took care of the broken rib and chip-fractured wrist; I only missed my last class and the next day; and my principal said it was an unrateable observation (what did he mean?) ...

Favorite website URL's:

Hobbies and Interests:
Reading, Nature
Unique Interest:
Long distance running.
Breeding corn snakes (Elaphe guttata).
Favorite Type of Music:
Folk/Bluegrass, Oldies

Favorite Cuisine:

Favorite Type of Book:
Fiction & Literature

I would like to visit:
Grand Canyon

If I won $500,000, I would:
Spend it on family, Invest it