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The Education Office: Phriendly Physics Program

Phriendly Physics (K–5)
Phriendly Physics is a Next Generation Science Standards focused physical science program including field trips to the Lederman Science Center for elementary students and a professional development program for teachers. Phriendly Physics is also part of Benedictine University's M.S. in Science Content and Process degree program.
About the Teacher Workshop

The workshop helps K–5 teachers understand and feel comfortable with concepts of the physical sciences through facilitated exploration of a series of simple, open-ended experiments, and through discussion and reflection with master elementary school teachers and Fermilab staff. Through this process participants gain a deeper understanding both of the physics concepts and of new approaches in teaching and learning using the scientific method and scientific journaling. Participants also receive equipment and supplies so they can continue to explore these concepts with their students.

"The instructor modeled ways to encourage flexible thinking among students and ways to deepen and enrich the way I teach science."

"I really enjoyed the discussion on the Next Generation Science Standards and the instructor's focus on implementing them."

In the Classroom

Phriendly Physics focuses on the classroom. Participants not only learn concepts, but also start to think like scientists. All of the activities from the workshop can be done in the classroom, many with inexpensive and/or household materials. The most important thing participants will do is learn how to help students frame and explore their own questions, like real scientists.

About the Field Trip (Grades 1–5 only)

Teachers may schedule one or more of the four available Phriendly Physics field trips at Fermilab. Each of the field trips features special activities at the Lederman Science Center. The field trips are designed to wrap up a unit of study with exciting activities serving as focal points for the exploration of a topic.

Electricity & Magnetism: Explore the properties of magnets and electrical circuits to discover how they are part of the same force! Students will design and construct a unique magnet, investigate different types of circuits, and discover what creates natural batteries. Data is recorded throughout each of the explorations.

Forces & Motion: Investigate Newton's 1st (Inertia) and 2nd Laws (acceleration) through a series of explorations while comparing and contrasting data. Students discover the physics of energy and work through simple machines by investigating force, stored energy, lift and consider the applications to their world.

Light & Color: Discover the fascinating properties of light and make connections to the world around them. Students use everyday tools to explore and observe the properties white light, colored light, shadows, refraction and reflection.

Update! Structure and Properties of Matter: Stay Tuned! This field trip topic is in the process of being updated and will be available when the updates are complete!

Scheduling a field trip: 2019-2020 School Year

  • By attending the workshop, teachers can bring students to Fermilab for free field trips.
  • Students must be in grades 1-5.
  • Must be scheduled at least three weeks in advance (Use the Field Trip Request Form).
  • Field Trips are available Tuesday - Friday starting in November each school year.
  • Group size: Minimum of 10, Maximum of 60
  • Chaperones: One adult chaperone (instructor or responsible adult) for every 10 students. We recommend that groups bring extra chaperones to ensure that the minimum number make the trip. Field Trips are not permitted for groups that arrive without the minimum number of required chaperones.
  • Groups may bring lunches to eat at our outdoor picnic tables if you schedule at appropriate times of the year.
  • Please indicate on the field trip form if you need to make arrangements for bringing your own lunch during the colder months.

Virtual Teacher Workshops 2021
Phriendly Physics Grades K–2 Date:July 19–20, 2021 - Register
Grades K–2 Time:8:30 AM–4:00 PM
Grades K–2 Fee:$50
Phriendly Physics Grades 3–5 Date:July 21–23, 2021 - Register
Grades 3–5 Time:8:30 AM–4:00 PM

8:30 AM–5:20 PM (graduate credit)

Grades 3–5 Fee:$50
Graduate Credit: K–2: 1 semester hour. Click here to register for graduate credit only.

3–5: 2 semester hours. Click here to register for graduate credit only.

Graduate credit is available through the University of St. Francis. Click here for more information.

ISBE recertification: K–2: 15 PDHs (non-credit)

3–5: 22 PDHs (non-credit)


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