South Dakota Section of American Association of Physics Teachers

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February 5, 2021  -  Virtual Meeting  -  Including 35 members from SD, MN, Neb,

SD AAPT Meeting Minutes
February 4th, 2017
Members in attendance: Larry Browning, Carolyn Burns, Darwin Daugaard, Ben DeNeui, Debby Hopkins, Chad Ronish, James Stearns, Judy Vondruska.  Prior to the official meeting, members reviewed, voted and discussed the submissions for the SD AAPT Photo Contest. The photo contest in organized by James Stearns and his efforts are greatly appreciated!
Winner’s were:
   *   1st Place –  Chase McClure – Mitchell High School
   *   2nd Place – Emily Bigelow   -  Mitchell High School
   *   3rd Place –  Ben Hieb         –  Mitchell High School
 The official meeting was called to order by president, Judy Vondruska. Minutes from the previous year’s meeting were not available so there was no opportunity to review or approve them. The treasurer’s report was given by Larry Browning. The current balance is $655.85 but this does not
include the $60 to be paid out to the winners of the chapter photo contest so the final balance will be $595.85. Previous expenditures included last year’s photo contest winners ($60) and the plaques for the winners of the SD Outstanding Physical Science Award ($77.37 for 2016 and $77.73 for 2017). The treasurer’s report was approved.
Unfinished business focused on a discussion of the future of SD-AAPT. The chapter has barely been active in recent years and beyond the sponsored awards (Photo Contest and Outstanding Physical Science Teacher) little has been accomplished. Certainly membership has not grown and visibility of the organization is minimal.
One effort to increase visibility was the inclusion of a president’s message and other physics‐related articles for the SD Science Teacher’s Newsletter in 2016. This effort should continue and extend to other members of our group, not just the president.
In another effort to increase visibility a SD-AAPT chapter newsletter was developed and disseminated at the SD Science and Math Teachers’ Conference in Huron (coincident with this meeting). Elements in the newsletter were meant to assist physical science teachers in grades 6‐16. Specific sections included a teaching innovation spotlight, a focus on a physics education major, curriculum resources, information from physics education research and notable advances in physics the previous year. A copy of the newsletter is included at the end of these minutes. Efforts will be made to have two newsletters per year with the next one to be released in early fall of 2017. Some members discussed their participation
in summer research experiences and these will be highlighted in the fall newsletter. Dissemination of the newsletter will be electronic, posted on the chapter’s website,, and sent through the SD Department of Education Science listserv. The second newsletter will always be released in conjunction with the February state science and math teachers’ conference.
To increase organizational visibility at the state science and math conference each year members are encouraged to indicate their association with SD‐AAPT in their presentations and program descriptions, if possible. Members can also indicate their association when posting information on the SD Department of Education science listserv.
In an effort to increase membership, chapter members discussed whether there would be more effort to attend meetings and be a part of the organization if dues were required. In prior years membership dues have been voluntary and considered more of a donation. Members agreed to begin collecting $5 yearly dues starting in the fall of 2017. While this will not generate a significant amount of revenue, it will provide members with “skin in the game” and dues could be used to increase the prize money for the photo contest or help support SD‐AAPT members in providing conference presentations at the state meeting.
New Business:
 Judy presented information about the Aug. 21st solar eclipse and there was a general discussion of everyone’s plans for observing the event.
 Chad will be part of a muon detection experiment during the eclipse and we hope his results will be part of the fall newsletter.
 Darwin is attending an RET in Iowa this summer and his experiences will be part of the fall newsletter.
 Ben will be student‐teaching in the fall.
 Judy asked for input for the fall newsletter by the end of August/early September. The fall newsletter should come out in September.
 New officers were elected for the 2017‐18 term. They are as follows:
o President: Judy Vondruska
o Vice-President: open (later accepted by Ben Deneui)
o Secretary: Debby Hopkins
o Treasurer: Larry Browning
o Section Representative: Judy Vondruska
A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting. Motion was approved. Members were encouraged to attend the meeting of the SD Science Teachers’ Association.  

Judy Vondruska
Astronomy/Physics Lecturer
South Dakota State University
ALD Advisor
President – SD Chapter of AAPT                              January 2017 Newsletter
Coordinator – Brookings Regional Astronomy Club




A Message from the President of SDAAPT
I am excited and honored to take on the role of president of the South Dakota Chapter of the American Association of Physics Teachers. As noted on the national website, “AAPT was established in 1930 with the fundamental goal of ensuring the ‘dissemination of knowledge of physics, particularly by way of teaching.’ Founders, Homer L. Dodge, Paul E. Klopsteg, and William S. Webb, led the effort to organize the first association dedicated to improving physics education. Today that vision is support-ed by members around the world.”
While the numbers of students taking physics has nearly doubled nationally since the late 80’s (20% to about 40%), there are still racial and gender inequities as well as a tremendous physics teacher shortage ( According to the most recent survey conducted by the American Institute of Physics, less than half of high school physics classes are taught by a teacher with a degree in the subject and less than 40% of physics teachers are involved in any sort of professional development. This is particularly pronounced in rural states, such as South Dakota, where many high schools hire one science teacher to teach all subjects at all grade levels. With this overburdened teaching assignment and isolation, physics and physical science teachers need resources to come to them. As president of the state chapter of AAPT, it is my desire to grow the influence and membership of the organization across the state, including the number of minorities and women taking and teaching physics.
I would like to call on all teachers who teach physics and physical science (at any grade level) to join our organization. There is no cost to join but your membership will allow you to become part of a supportive statewide network of teachers with simi-lar interests, passions, concerns and questions. Later this fall, look for the release of a new website for the organization with useful information for teachers including the latest in research-based, successful pedagogical practices, reviews of books and apps, ideas for demonstrations, professional development opportunities, Ask-A-Physicist links, and news from the field of physics.
We are in an interesting period of transition in South Dakota with the influence of the NGSS and the adoption of new state science standards. We are fortunate to have so many talented teachers in our state and while teachers are finally receiving more financial support in terms of salary, we still have room to improve curriculum and professional support in the classroom. To join the SD Chapter of AAPT, send an email to I look forward to working with you this coming year!
Judy Vondruska
President – SD Chapter of AAPT
Astronomy/Physics Lecturer
South Dakota State University


Annual meeting of the SD Chapter of the AAPT  2/11/2015.

 Meeting Called to order at 3:45 p.m. by President Molly TenBroek.

Members present were:  Joel Rauber, James Stearns, Deirdre Peck, Larry Browning, Molly TenBroek, Heather Brown and Peggy Norris.

No Secretary’s Report.

Treasurer’s Report:   Larry reported that we have $783.45 in our account.  Paul Kuhlman donated $50 towards the payout for the photo contest.  Molly T. donated $20 so we won’t have to take any money out of our account.

The group judged the photos that were submitted for the photo contest.

1st place:  Pinhole Camera—Justice Brim

2nd place:  Waves—Rikka Skavbo

3rd place:  Black Hills—McKenzie Patton

New Business:

Summer Opportunities:  Larry’s summer workshops are not finalized yet.   The request for proposals is due Feb. 13. 

Peggy Norris informed us that South Dakota has been chosen to hold host a regional Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics.     It is a 2.5 day conference and is at 9 locations around the country.  It will be over Martin Luther King day next year.  They are planning a high school girls day and are hoping to get many enthusiastic high school girls from SD and surrounding states who are interested in physics.  She will send out more information as things become finalized.

Larry talked about a 3-4 year grant for $10,000/year for junior and senior STEM majors at SDSU.

Joel, our state AAPT representative, talked about the discussion at the conference about having regional reps instead of individual state reps.  Most members wanted to keep things the same.

Joel made a motion to adjourn and Larry seconded the motion.

Meeting adjourned.

Molly TenBroek, reporter. 

Joel Rauber:; James Stearns:; Deirdre Peck:; Larry Browning:; Molly TenBroek:; Heather Brown:; Paul Kuhlman:;  Peggy Norris:




Minutes of the Meeting held on Friday, February 8, 2008

President Arnie Lund called the meeting to order at 3:45 PM at the 16th Annual Joint SDSTA/SDCTM Professional Development Conference in Huron. A sign-in sheet was passed around and introductions were exchanged.  

Results from this years Photo Contest were: First Place to Ken Maier from McIntosh, Second Place to Jordan Steen of Groton, and Third Place to Danielle Larson of McIntosh.

Discussion continued concern of electing a new Treasurer by next year.  Harlan H was going to be placed on our ballot, but as he currently no longer teaches Physics (now is only Chemistry at PC), it is not recommended that he hold an elected office for our state Physics organization.

Financial report showed monies coming in & going out to the SD Outstanding Physical Science Teacher of the Year Award. Monies are received from 3M and SDSTA to give a monetary award and a plaque. 

Meeting Adjourned.

Minutes of Meeting held on February 2, 2007.
Meeting was called to order at the Joint Science/Math Conference in Huron.

After introductions and re-election of officers, review of Photo Contest winners were reviewed.  {{First to Blair DeJung of Avon, Second to Nathan Larson of Groton, Third to Heather Heupel of Leola.}} The photo contest will continue and application will be made to SDSTA to get a grant for prize money.

Discussion continued as a need for a new Treasurer as Dr Quist my be leaving SDSU in the future. 

Minutes of Meeting held on February 3, 2006.

Meeting convened at 3:00 PM at the Feb. joint meeting of the South Dakota Science Teachers Association and SD Council of Teachers of Mathematics held in Huron at the Crossroads Inn and Convention Center.


Participants were:



Eric Aisenbrey

Larry Browning

Mike Farney

Harlan Heitz

Arnie Lund

John McEnelly

Joel Rauber

James Stearns

Molly TenBroek


The first order of business, after introductions, was election of a president. Former president Jerry Loomer had left South Dakota and was no longer available to serve in that capacity. After some discussion, Arnold Lund was elected president.


Browning reported that Oren Quist, current Section Representative and Secretary/Treasurer, was planning on retiring in a few years and was considering stepping down from his two positions. After some discussion, Harlan Heitz expressed some interest in the Section Representative position but would like to have a year to learn more about the duties and consult with Quist. It was agreed among the group that Heitz would be the Section Representative Elect and would assume that position in a year if he was still agreeable to it.


James Stearns offered to be communication director. His position as Newsletter Editor for the SD Science Teachers Association gives him access to several communication avenues. All agreed that this was a great idea.


For the upcoming year, 2006, the group was agreed that continuing and expanding the photo contest that Jerry Loomer had started was a worthwhile activity. Harlan Heitz suggested that we have a voluntary contribution of $10 each to support a prize for the best pictures. After some discussion and amendments the group agreed that a $10 voluntary contributions would be asked for with the prizes to be:

$30 for First

$20 for Second

$10 for Third

with any remaining funds being saved for the next year. Checks should be made out to:

SD AAPT            And should be sent to:

Dr. Larry Browning
Physics Department
Box 2219 SDSU
Brookings, SD 57007


We would use the national guidelines for the contest and would judge them at the next SDSTA meeting. Information about the national contest are available at:


Also during the meeting a treasurer’s report from Dr. Quist was circulated which indicated that there was $297.00 in the SDAAPT account. This was the same amount that the year began with but that $59.59 had been paid out to Brookings Engraving for the SD Outstanding Physical Science Teacher of the Year Award plaque. This exact amount was reimbursed by the SDSTA. Also a check for $1000 from 3M Corporation was deposited to the account and the same amount was awarded to an account at Stevens High School, Rapid City, for Jane Roseland’s use as 2005 SD OPSTA recipient.


Submitted by: Larry Browning

(605) 688-4548



Click here for Summer 2006 Workshop