About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3836-3846
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1831

Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain

TEACHING THE STANDARD MODEL OF PARTICLE PHYSICS AT SCHOOL – AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH

P. Lindenau

Technische Universität Dresden (GERMANY)
Research in particle physics, especially the one done at the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has frequently been picked up by the media. The coverage peaked in 2012 when CERN announced the discovery of the Higgs Particle as the missing piece of the so-called Standard Model of particle physics (SM). Although the SM is the most precise theory we know to describe the elementary processes in our universe and has been validated in countless experiments since its development more than fifty years ago, it is not yet part of most curricula at German schools. But, probably also driven by the media attention and the involved interest on the side of students, it is getting more and more implemented.
To support this process and to help the teachers who have to educate students on the subject, Netzwerk Teilchenwelt (NTW) has developed material to provide the necessary background knowledge. NTW is a Germany-wide network of students, teachers and scientists. Since 2010 NTW has taken real data from particle physics experiments into school to give students an insight into the research methodology. The recently developed didactic approach for teaching the key concepts of the SM differs from those usually used in schoolbooks. Different ways of its implementation in the classroom are regularly discussed with teachers during further training courses.
One major goal of this approach is to give students an idea which of the many things we know about elementary particles and their interactions can be fully explained by the SM and which are experimental facts we cannot predict by theory.
Therefore, it has to be pointed out that all processes in the universe can be explained by four fundamental interactions, three of which are described by the SM. These interactions can be ascribed to very similar reasons, named charges. Students are quite familiar with one of them, the electric charge, being the reason for the electromagnetic interaction. There are several more points of contact between particle physics and other contents of the curricula, which makes teaching the SM not as difficult as one might think.
Charges and fundamental interactions are very well described by theory. They set the rules every particle we know follows. That is why the understanding of charges and interactions is the deepest insight into the functionality of the universe mankind has achieved so far. As opposed to this, there are several aspects in particle physics that cannot be predicted by the SM. One of them is the spectrum of existing matter particles. In this light it is somehow absurd that the SM is often reduced to the elementary particles we know. To understand the fundamental interactions, students do not need to know about all existing matter particles. Besides, it is not particularly motivating to learn all their names, especially because most of them do not play a direct role for ourselves, since all of the stable matter is built by only three elementary matter particles. Saying that, starting a course on particle physics by listing all known matter particles and their properties does not seem to be the best approach. The described concept by NTW takes that into account and starts with very few matter particles to define the rules of the game, namely the fundamental interactions they and every other known matter particle have to follow.
@InProceedings{LINDENAU2017TEA,
author = {Lindenau, P.},
title = {TEACHING THE STANDARD MODEL OF PARTICLE PHYSICS AT SCHOOL – AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH},
series = {9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN17 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-3777-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2017.1831},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.1831},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {3-5 July, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {3836-3846}}
TY - CONF
AU - P. Lindenau
TI - TEACHING THE STANDARD MODEL OF PARTICLE PHYSICS AT SCHOOL – AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH
SN - 978-84-697-3777-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1831
PY - 2017
Y1 - 3-5 July, 2017
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN17 Proceedings
SP - 3836
EP - 3846
ER -
P. Lindenau (2017) TEACHING THE STANDARD MODEL OF PARTICLE PHYSICS AT SCHOOL – AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH, EDULEARN17 Proceedings, pp. 3836-3846.
User:
Pass: