The Energy Project

Honing Diagnostic Practice: Toward a New Model of Teacher Professional Preparation and Development

In 2008, the National Science Foundation awarded Seattle Pacific University a $3.7 million, five-year grant. This "Energy Project" grant funds research of the teaching of physics from grade school through higher education.

The SPU Response magazine recently described the project in further detail.

The Department of Physics is working with the School of Education at Seattle Pacific University and FACET Innovations, LLC, on this project. Additionally, partnerships have been formed with school districts in Seattle, Bellevue, and Spokane (three of the largest school districts in Washington State).

Below are links to articles, images, and presentations related to the work currently underway by Energy Project researchers. Check back frequently for updates.

More information for teachers involved in the Energy Project Cohort can be found on the Energy Project Cohort page.

Click here to see additional professional development courses and workshops currently being offered for teachers.

Research approach

Research goals for the project include:


production, delivery over the web, and iterative refinement of research-based diagnostic classroom tools in the gateway areas for all sciences, currently focusing on the way that Energy is taught in physics classrooms. These tools are based on the Diagnoser Project tools.


development of a framework for using diagnostic classroom tools in the delivery of professional development to deepen the subject matter content knowledge, enrich the pedagogical content knowledge, broaden the curricular content knowledge, and hone the diagnostic skills of all teachers, especially those who are new to the intentional use of assessment in science instruction.

Papers, Posters, and Presentations

Coming soon!


Energy Project Professional Development

Summer 2010 Professional Development Opportunities

Understanding Energy: June 24, 25, 28 - 30, 2010

This course is especially appropriate for 4th and 5th grade teachers and will include working with concrete materials in order to more fully understand the concepts of energy transfer and transformation and conservation of energy in systems, as delineated in the new science standards. A major focus will also be on the energy present in systems in the following science units: Circuits and Pathways, Ecosystems, Models and Designs, Microworlds, Food Chemistry, and Land and Water.

Teachers who have taken this course previously are welcome to take it again - the content will be designed to build upon their first experience.

Stipend of $750 and three 5000-level physics credits

(Registration fee applies. Clock hours are available.)

Email Julie Glavic for more information.

Energy One: Aug. 9-13, 16-20, 2010

This course for secondary teachers can be taken either as a standalone course or as part of a two-year, coherent, articulated professional development effort.

As a standalone course, it will focus on energy forms, energy transfers and transformations in the context of physics and physical science.  Participants will also be immersed in a diagnostic learning environment, explore research on student ideas about energy and related concepts energy, and discuss the implications of the research on the teaching and learning of the subject.

This course also fits into a two-year PD effort that is designed to help teachers transform their practice.

Stipend of $1200 and five 5000-level physics credits

(Registration fee applies. Clock hours are available.)

Email Julie Glavic for more information.

Energy Two: Aug. 2-6, 9-13, 2010

This course for secondary teachers is designed to be taken one year after the completion of Energy One, should participants which to build upon their first summer's experience.

The format and subject matter of the course will be similar to that of Energy One.

Stipend of $1200 and five 5000-level physics credits

(Registration fee applies. Clock hours are available.)

Email Julie Glavic for more information.


News & Announcements

Physics Department

Seattle Pacific University Physics Department: 206-281-2000 Otto Miller Hall 3307 Third Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119-1997