Author Archives: marcreif

About marcreif

I live and teach high school physics in the town I was born in, Fayetteville, Arkansas. My professional interests include modeling instruction and Advanced Placement courses. I also work as a College Board Workshop Consultant, which means I lead Pre-AP and AP Science Teacher workshops. Lately I've also been leading a fair amount of student review sessions for the National Math and Science Initiative. I have a website for students ( and another for AP Summer Institute participants ( I tweet infrequently (@marcreif).

“Nothing is too wonderful to be true” – Michael Faraday’s Law

Science is moved forward by observations and experiments, yet some observations are too subtle and some experiments too complicated to reproduce in the classroom.Michael Faraday’s discovery of electromagnetic induction combines observation and experimentation yet requires nothing expensive or complicated. It … Continue reading

Posted in AP Physics 1 and 2, AP Physics C, E and M, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Physics Teacher’s Strongman Trick

Strongman tricks often involve seemingly impossible tasks like bending iron bars, lifting gigantic weights, or pulling trains with your teeth. This “teacher trick” doesn’t take great strength to impress. Using a clever arrangement of a mirror and a laser, students … Continue reading

Posted in about teaching and learning, AP Physics 1 and 2, Modeling., Teaching Ideas | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

WHITEBOARDING TECHNIQUES (To promote a good classroom environment and possibly, inquiry)

A brief description of the ways I have used whiteboards to promote discussions in the modeling physics classroom. Continue reading

Posted in Labs, Modeling., Teaching Ideas, Uncategorized, Whiteboarding | 2 Comments

Pinterest Boards for Teachers

Last year, inspired by my oldest daughter’s obsession with Pinterest, I started making Pinterest boards for high school physics teaching. Pinterest is a website that allows you to create “bulletin boards” of images (with a snippet of text) “pinned” from … Continue reading

Posted in about teaching and learning, AP Physics 1 and 2, AP Physics C, Teaching Ideas, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Racism and the past

Last summer I drove through the delta from Searcy, Arkansas to Pine Bluff, Arkansas. It’s a pleasant drive. The land is mostly farmland, dedicated to cotton, soybeans, and rice. The delta is an area of rich soils, plentiful water, and productive farms. Arkansas … Continue reading

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The First Day of School: Marshmallows and Spaghetti

I have used this as a first-day activity for several years. Students walk in, and sit in groups of three or four assigned for them. The groups are given a large marshmallow, 20 sticks of spaghetti, about a meter of masking … Continue reading

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TESS has no meat on her bones

There are structural and cultural problems with the Arkansas Department of Education’s newish Teacher Excellence and Support System (TESS), the system by which teachers are evaluated. TESS is not really going to change anything. TESS is based on Charlotte Danielson’s “The … Continue reading

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